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Take-Back event targets old drugs

You never know what might turn up when Lake Oswego holds its Drug Take-Back Event.

The next event is set for Saturday at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

'We get such old stuff, like old clear bottles from the 1950s,' said Bonnie Hirschberger, citizen information specialist for the city of Lake Oswego. 'Like old Neptune bottles.'

As much fun as the volunteers have in discovering such historical relics, the main purpose of Take-Back is to make sure old pharmacy drugs are suitably disposed of, are kept out of the public water system, or, even worse, do not end up in a punch bowl of a teenage 'pharm party,' causing an untold amount of harm.

'We want to make sure prescription drugs are disposed of properly,' said Capt. Dale Jorgensen of the Lake Oswego Police Department. 'Traces of drugs are showing up in our water supply.

'Also, this city does have sustainability as an issue, and we want to present that to the citizens.'

The first two Take-Backs were quite successful, with each of them attracting 200 families bringing in old drugs for disposal. There should be even more success as the event becomes more and more established.

'People now call regularly asking when the next event will be held,' Hirschberger said. 'This is the best and safest way to dispose of drugs.'

Pharmacy drugs collected on Saturday at the adult community center will be placed in black bags and transported to a proper site for burning.

In addition, education will be offered on how people can get rid of old drugs by themselves. Not by throwing them away or flushing them down the toilet, where it will mix with the public water system, but by crushing the drugs and mixing them with trash and other undesirable material.

Items suitable for bringing in for disposal include:

* Expired or unwanted prescription medicine.

* Over the counter medicines

* Unknown tablets and capsules.

* Vitamins and nutritional supplements.

* Veterinary medications.

Items not accepted include thermometers and medical waste. Also shampoos, hand lotions, deodorants, and other products that can safely be disposed of in regular garbage.

Hirschberger noted that Lake Oswego will have plenty of company on Saturday since drug take-back events will be held nationwide.

Jorgensen said, 'The LOPD is behind it to make sure these drugs don't fall into the hands of people who should not have their hands on them.'

One national statistic is enough to show how dangerous prescription drugs can be: More than 7 million Americans are now abusing prescription drugs. They do it not by making illicit contacts with narcotic sellers but simply by going to a medicine cabinet.

The ACC is located at 505 G Ave.