Santa Monica residents are encouraged to drop off their expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs at the Santa Monica Police Department April 28, as part of a day-long “Take-Back” event.
An officer will be at the curb of the station from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the service is free, anonymous and no questions will be asked.
The event was coordinated in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration, which has organized drives at nearly 5,400 sites. Last April, people around the country turned in 376,593 pounds of prescription drugs at these events, authorities said.
Recently, there has been an increase in the number of prescription drug abuse cases seen in Santa Monica, said Stephen Dupree, director of residential services at the CLARE Foundation, which focuses on alcohol and substance abuse recovery. In the past five years, Dupree said the number of clients reporting prescription drugs as their primary or secondary substance increased 15 percent.
Prescription drugs are also frequently paired with opiates like heroin, which make for a dangerous combination, Dupree said.
Since January, eight to nine people known by the program have overdosed or died from this combination.
“It used to be the occasional housewife or alcoholic, but now there’s also a younger demographic and it’s really blown out of control,” he said.
The SMPD is located at 333 Olympic Dr. Other drives are being planned for upcoming months.