People can turn in unused or expired prescription drugs to the Blacksburg Police Department no questions asked Saturday.
The amnesty event is meant to help prevent prescription drug abuse and theft, as well as to make sure the drugs are disposed in an environmentally friendly way.
“If you come drop your stuff off, we’re not supposed to see anything,” said Sergeant Joe Davis of the Blacksburg Police Department. “We’re not allowed to look.”
According to the Town of Blacksburg website, “Prescription drug abuse in the United States is increasing at an alarming rate. Many people are not aware that medicines left at home are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse.”
The event is part of a nationwide Take-Back initiative and will take place at the Blacksburg Parks & Recreation Community Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The event is sponsored by the department and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
This is the initiative’s second year in Blacksburg.
“We had quite a turn out last year,” Davis said. “We had more people than collection boxes.”
Based on inquiries so far, the department expects an equally large turnout this year. However, student involvement wasn’t specifically measured.
Medications for ADHD, such as Ritalin and Adderall, are commonly used on college campuses without prescriptions.
A student who prefers to remain unnamed admitted to using Adderall without a prescription. He said he receives the drug from his roommate.
“(I use it) studying and to get stuff done. I feel I may have slight ADD, (it’s) just not prescribed,” the student said. “Everyone I know uses it, and it is real easy to get.”
Although he admits to knowing the dangers of using unprescribed medication, he said it can be used safely.
“Adderall is only an issue when it is used improperly,” he said, “and it helps out a lot of people that may not even know they have ADD.”
However, using and dealing a non-prescribed drug are illegal under Virginia law, and an individual can be charged with various misdemeanors for doing so.
“It depends on the schedule of the drug itself,” Davis said. “The ones who have a higher propensity to be abused are a higher class charge.”
Painkillers such as Oxycodone or Percocet are likely to fall into this category.
The event also hopes to tackle the potential environmental impacts of improperly disposing drugs by throwing them down the drain or flushing them down a toilet. The Drug Enforcement Administration is responsible for the disposal of dropped off drugs at the event.
According to smarxtdisposal.net, medications should be disposed of in a sealable plastic bag with sawdust or coffee grounds after all personal information has been removed.