Drug Take-Back Day collects more than 700 pounds of medication

LAS CRUCES – Doña Ana County residents safely disposed of 753 pounds of medications at the Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Drug Take-Back Day held the last Saturday of October.

Due to the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic this year, DEA and local law enforcement hosted DEA National Drug Take-Back Day as a drive-through event for Doña Ana County community members.

DEA’s National Drug Take-Back Day is a bi-annual opportunity for the anonymous disposal of expired, unwanted, or unused medications. The importance of this event is to prevent the misuse of prescription pills of those living in the home by safely disposing of expired or unused medications.

Local law enforcement agencies throughout Doña Ana County hosted 11 sites from Doña Ana to Santa Teresa and Mesilla to Chaparral, including five locations in the Las Cruces metro-area. The Unified Prevention Coalition of Doña Ana County coordinated and promoted the county-wide event.

Sergeant Michelle Ugalde from the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department said, “I would say it’s always a pleasure to partner with other agencies, DEA and the UP! Coalition to provide an opportunity for the community to get rid of expired or unused medication.”

“This year, everyone expressed a huge thanks for having a place to discard potential harmful medication.,” added Ugalde. “It’s always a great opportunity to have the chance to educate the public about the many reasons it’s good to dispose of medications through this Take-Back event.”

“The event’s success was due to our community, coalition, and law enforcement support,” said Michelle Rincon, program specialist for the Unified Prevention Coalition, which helped coordinate Drug Take-Back Day.

Rincon noted that partnership extended to volunteer help from the Organ Mountain High School’s Health Occupations Students of America and New Mexico State University Pre-Pharmacy Student Society, organized by UP! Coalition partner, Amy Buesing, the faculty advisor of the UNM/NMSU Director Cooperative Pharmacy Program.