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Riverhead Police to host drug take-back event at Tanger


Have any expired or unused medication clogging up your cabinets you need to get rid of? The Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-free Youth can help you with that.

The group, in partnership with the Riverhead Town Police Department and Tanger Outlet Center, will be hosting a drive-through drug take-back event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 26. Without leaving their cars, people will be able to drop off any unused, unwanted or expired prescription and over-the-counter drugs in the Office Max parking lot.

“Disposing of expired or unused medication is a great way to help prevent drug abuse and protect our environment,” said Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller. “Drug drop off days have been extremely successful in Riverhead in the past … You don’t even have to get out of your car and you’ll feel great.”

Last year’s event was held at the police department station on Howell Avenue. According to a press release, over 100 pounds of medication were collected. Chief Hegermiller said this year they decided to make the event more convenient by holding in a place “many people drive by on a Saturday while shopping or running errands.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States, especially among teens.

“One in five teens have taken prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription and each day more than 2,000 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time,” according to the CDC. “In most cases prescription medication is easier to obtain than street drugs; the majority of teens get them from family members, friends, or in the home. Teens that become addicted to prescription drugs are likely to turn to heroin which is much cheaper to buy on the street.”

Additionally, the CDC said that more people die from prescription drug overdoses than from all illegal drugs combined, making prescription drug deaths the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S.

Residents are instructed to look for the Riverhead Police Department Mobile Command Post to drop off their medications. Those who can’t make the event Saturday can drop medications off anytime at the Police Department’s 24-hour permanent drop box located inside the police station lobby.

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