(HOUSTON, TX) Sep. 26, 2012 — Sheriff Adrian Garcia and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), along with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Coalition of Behavioral Health Services, and Houston Crackdown, announced the establishment of a permanent prescription drug drop-off location at the HCSO Aldine Storefront, located at 5202 Aldine Mail Route, at a news conference on September 26, 2012.
Sandy Olson, Executive Director of the Coalition of Behavioral Health Services, organized the first medication take-back in Houston at a local grocery market in February 2010. When the DEA began hosting national take-back events shortly thereafter, her Coalition along with many other organizations and law enforcement agencies in the Greater Houston area joined in to support the DEA in this groundbreaking effort. Temporary drop-off locations have been set up twice a year since 2010, but the location at the HCSO Aldine Storefront is the first permanent drop-off in Harris County.
“This is an example of what can be accomplished when community organizations partner with law enforcement,” said Sheriff Garcia. “The destruction of unused and unwanted prescription medication is something I’ve advocated for since my days at city council. I’m proud to announce the Sheriff’s Office is now playing a big role in this effort.”
“I want our culture to understand the medicine cabinet can be dangerous,” Olson said. “Essentially, the medicine cabinet is the new drug dealer in town.”
“Prescription medication abuse continues to be a significant threat to local communities,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Javier Peña. “The DEA supports the Harris County Sheriff’s Office’s efforts to assist the public in disposing of prescription medication in a secure and environmentally friendly manner.”
According to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, every day about 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time; 16 percent of the teens who abuse pain relievers did so before the age of 15. Of those surveyed, 62 percent believe that teens got their prescription medications from the family medicine cabinet.
“This permanent drop-off box is a new tool that will help eradicate substance abuse in our community,” Ray Andrews, director for the Houston Crackdown Office of the Mayor, said. “With the advent of this permanent drop box, citizens will dispose of their medications properly.”
Unfortunately, keeping expired or unused medication also endangers citizens whose intentions are not abusing the medication. “Some senior citizens tend to take medications without checking for expiration dates,” Major Edwin Davis of the HCSO’s Community Support Bureau said. “This permanent drop-off location is going to be instrumental to our cause of keeping all citizens of the Harris County area safe. I hope the program will extend to establish other permanent drop-off locations so that it will be easy for all citizens to be safe.”