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Southeast drug turn-in was 'to save kids'

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement Crime Prevention Specialist Jenni Pullen receives medications from a participant in the Drug Turn-in Program at Southeast Precinct. From a distance, it looked like a “reverse drug deal” going on in broad daylight – and right in front of the Portland Police Bureau’s recently-reopened Southeast Precinct, no less – for several hours on October 26.

One after another, cars, vans, and SUVs pulled into driveway, and handed over bottles and bags full of prescription pharmaceuticals and other drugs. A woman smiled brightly as she accepted them from the drivers.

“Again today, the City of Portland’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement Crime Prevention people are partnering with the Portland Police Bureau, in cooperation with the Drug Enforcement Agency, in the nationwide prescription turn-in campaign,” explained Crime Prevention Specialist Jenni Pullen.

In exchange for the medications, Ms. Pullen explained about the day’s mission, and how – and where – to dispose of medications. “At most of our police precincts, a medication drop box is available, during regular staffed lobby hours, year ’round.”

The purpose of the drug turn-in events is threefold, she said.

“First is to encourage people to clean out their medicine cabinets. This keeps people from accidentally taking old or outdated medications. Beyond that, it removes the medicine from the reach of children and teenagers who may want to experiment with these medications – we want to prevent that.”

The last good reason to dispose of medications in this manner instead of just flushing them down the drain, Pullen said, is that the DEA uses a filtered incineration process to dispose of both the medication and containers. “This helps promote cleaner waterways and groundwater.”

By the end of the event, seven boxes – a total of 245 pounds – of pharmaceuticals had been turned in, Pullen later told THE BEE.