(Photo courtesy U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency)
Allegheny County and local police are again teaming up with UPMC Health System, other agencies and private businesses to take unused prescription drugs off the streets.
The 14th annual National Take-Back Initiative, sponsored by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 28.
Law-enforcement and health officials say that unused prescription drugs --- especially painkillers --- are often abused by people to whom they weren't originally prescribed. And drugs disposed of improperly can pose a danger to birds, fish and other wildlife.
In the Mon-Yough area, drug collection sites will be available at UPMC McKeesport hospital, East Pittsburgh, Wilmerding, Clairton, Pleasant Hills, West Mifflin and the North Huntingdon Twp. town house.
“The Take Back program has been an effective means to assist county residents who want to dispose of unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs in a safe and secure way,” said Coleman McDonough, superintendent of Allegheny County police. “The drop boxes are a great way to help law enforcement fight back against the opioid epidemic.”
According to the DEA, more than 912,000 pounds of unwanted medicines were collected in 2017 by 4,300 law enforcement agencies.
The drop-off sites are anonymous and no one will ask for ID, McDonough said. Prescription and over-the-counter medicines can be disposed of --- but illegal drugs should not be deposited at the collection sites, a DEA spokesman said.
A county police spokesperson said participants can remove any personal information from bottles or packages before depositing them, but that removing labels is not required. Liquid products and creams in containers will be accepted; however, sharps and syringes will not.
According to the DEA website, collection sites will be open at the following Mon-Yough area locations:
UPMC McKeesport hospital
Patient discharge lounge, Crawford Building, first floor
Clairton Police Department
(drop-off site at Livingston Pharmacy, 550 Miller Ave.)
East Pittsburgh Police Department
(drop-off site at Patrick T. Lanigan Funeral Home, 700 Linden Ave.)
Pleasant Hills Police Department
410 E. Bruceton Road
North Huntingdon Twp. Police Department
11279 Center Highway
South Park Station, Allegheny County police
Buffalo Drive, between Corrigan and Farmshow Drives, South Park Twp.
West Mifflin Police Department
1020 Lebanon Road
Wilmerding Substation, Allegheny County police
315 Station St.
Originally published April 18, 2018.