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Reopened Southeast Precinct hosts drug turn-in

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI) Crime Prevention Coordinator Katherine Anderson tells a man calling himself only Jack about the drug turn-in program, while an officer checks his bag, to make sure it contains no needles or glass.Having reopened last fall as a police substation, the Portland Police Southeast Precinct hosted its first-ever “drug turn-in” on April 27.

“This is an event for prescription medication disposal,” explained Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI) Crime Prevention Coordinator Jenni Pullen. “It is part of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sponsored ‘Turn-in Day’, a nationwide event. Our local event is a partnership between ONI and the Police Bureau.”

Apparently the word successfully spread, Ms. Pullen told THE BEE. “We’ve had many people come through. More than forty people dropped off unused and expired medications in the first hour and a half. That’s pretty exciting.”

All the medications dropped off – containers and all – were turned over for incineration, Pullen added.

Part of the motivation is keeping medications out of the river, she said. “And, we’re also raising awareness about teen prescription drug abuse. We want people to clean up their medicine cabinets to help prevent accidental overdoses, perhaps addiction, or even death – especially if there is a teenager in the household.”

Participants also learned they need not wait for the next special drug turn-in. “We now also have permanent prescription drop-off boxes, here at the Southeast Precinct and at Central Precinct downtown, available during lobby hours, Monday through Friday.” Southeast Precinct is located on East Burnside Street at 48th.

After the event, Pullen reported that 100 people had stopped by, dropping off a total of 315 pounds of discarded medications.