The Riverhead Police Department collected 102 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter drugs at the first annual Drug Take-Back Drive-Through Event on Saturday at police department headquarters.
Coordinated by the Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth, the event builds on the department’s recent addition of a permanent drug drop box last August. This drop box is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“This was a very successful take-back event in spite of the foul weather,” Officer Rick Anderson said in a press release. “It also helped raise awareness about the permanent drug drop box located in the lobby of the police department.”
According to Officer Anderson, 502 pounds of drugs have been collected since its inception in August. This total includes the amount collected on Saturday.
This event was the first time a drive-up drug drop-off service was provided.
“By reducing access to prescription drugs in our community, we have successfully reduced narcotics abuse among 12th grade students from 7.5 percent in 2008 to 2.1 percent in 2014,” Felicia Scocozza, executive director of Riverhead Community Awareness Program, said.
According to a 2012 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistic, the fastest growing drug problem in the United States, especially among teenagers, is prescription drug abuse. It was reported that one in five teenagers have taken prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription.
“What a great and easy way to help keep our youth safe and combat drug abuse with the added bonus of protecting our environment,” Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller said.
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) funds the Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth. The coalition’s mission is to engage collaborative partners in the planning, implementation and evaluation of strategies that prevent youth substance use.