Officers unveil new pharmaceutical drop-off box at station

by: TIME PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Tualatin Police Chief Kent Barker drops off outdated prescriptions from home at the police departments new prescription drug drop-off box, which is located in the lobby.In response to the success of its participation in Pharmaceutical Take Back Day events, the Tualatin Police Department on Monday unveiled its own custom pharmaceutical drop box.

The national Take Back event is hosted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which designates drop-off sites where citizens can dispose of unused and expired prescription medications, which are then destroyed. Improper disposal of pharmaceuticals can taint the water supply and can also allow substances with a high rate of abuse to stay in circulation.

According to Lt. Greg Pickering, more than 550 pounds of pharmaceuticals have been collected and destroyed during TuPD’s drop-off events. His department was receiving numerous requests for additional drop-off days, which inspired the installation of a drop-off box in the corner of the police station lobby.

People are welcome to come in and drop off unused medication “any time the police department is open, no questions asked,” said Pickering. “Personal information (on prescription bottle labels) is never looked at or investigated.”

The same team in charge of property evidence will incinerate relinquished medications, he said.

The box itself is a retrofitted ballot box that community group Tualatin Together bought from the Washington County Election Division. Tualatin Together, which aims to reduce the incidence of youth substance abuse, reported the cost of the box was $100, about a tenth the price of similar boxes found in other precincts.

SoCal Speed Shop, a division of Tualatin Auto Body, did significant pro bono “body work” to the second-hand drop box, including repairs and a custom paint job.

More than anything, these convenient drop-off sites are, Pickering said, “a way to safeguard that kids aren’t getting into the medicine cabinet that mom and dad aren’t using anymore.”

The drop box is only for the disposal of prescription and over-the-counter medications. Syringes, biowaste and inhalers will not be accepted.

The pharmaceutical drop-box will be open during police lobby hours on weekdays 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

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