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By Henrietta J. Burroughs             Follow East Palo Alto Today on
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Posted Tuesday, May 1, 2012       
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Photo of unwanted drugs being brought to police booth   Photo of unwanted medications
                                                          Photos by Henrietta J. Burroughs
The first photo shows Palo Alto resident Eleni Coltos dropping off a bag of her
unwanted medications at the police collection table that was set up in front of
the Best Buy store in East Palo Alto. The second photo shows one of the four
boxes of drugs that was collected.


Each year, millions of pounds of prescription medicines and over-the-counter drugs go into our nation's rivers and streams. Millions of pounds more end up in the hands of small children, teens and older adults who divert, misuse and abuse drugs.

So, to combat the pollution of the nation's waterways and the abuse and misuse of excess drugs, many agencies around the country participated in a national event called Take Back. The Take Back event, which was held on Saturday, April 28, was sponsored by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), to encourage individual consumers to bring in their unused prescription drugs for disposal.

The East Palo Alto Police Department was one of the local agencies which participated in the national event. To make it easy for the public to dispose of their unwanted medications, the East Palo Alto Police Department set up a booth in front of the Best Buy store located at 1751 East Bayshore Road in East Palo Alto and kept it open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Nearly 40 residents from throughout the area visited the booth and brought their old medications.

Eleni Coltos, a former East Palo Alto resident, who now lives in Palo Alto was one of those who chose to visit the booth to bring drugs she did not want. “I don't have any use for these medicines anymore and the issue of pouring them down the drain concerned me,” she said. So, Coltos brought medications such as Vicodin, which is a pain reliever, and vitamin supplements, along with other drugs that she said she wasn't taking anymore.

Ted Wright came from Atherton with a plastic bag full of medications that he said his wife Susan had diligently gathered. Asked why she spent time putting a bag of unused medications together, Susan Wright said, “I read about the event and wanted to dispose of these medications for a long time. They belonged to my daughter and she refused to take them and I didn't know what to do with them”

At the end of their four-hour stint collecting unwanted medications, the East Palo Alto Police collected 106.8 pounds of unused drugs in four tall boxes that were filled to the brim. The boxes were sealed with large clear tape and loaded into a police car, where they will be taken to the DEA field in Oakland, California.

To contact the author of this article, Henrietta J. Burroughs, email epatoday@epatoday.org


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