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VCU Students, Police Host National Drug Take Back Day Event

VCU campus
The VCU campus. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

This weekend, police departments around the state are offering secure drop-off locations for expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. It’s all part of National Drug Take Back Day, a Drug Enforcement Agency initiative to address the opioid epidemic.

VCU pharmacy graduate students are organizing an event with university police, one of many in the Richmond area. They’ll be collecting unwanted drugs, including e-cigarettes.

Students will also be handing out the overdose reversal drug Naloxone and information on opioid addiction.

They say events like this are especially important now, due to the impact of he Coronavirus pandemic on people with substance use disorders.

A study of nonfatal overdoses at VCU Medical Center between March and June of this year found a 123%increase compared to the same time period last year. Local harm reduction workers say this data bears out what they’ve been seeing in the community.

Organizers say leaving drugs around can lead to accidental or unwanted use. That can - and often does - lead to addiction. They say just tossing them in the trash does little to help. 

Flushing drugs down the drain can be destructive to wildlife and water supplies, but DEA has a “flush list” of addictive drugs that are safer to dispose of immediately.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at two locations: in the VCU Compass outside Cabell Library at 901 Park Ave., and in the VCU Police headquarters lobby at 224 E. Broad St. VCU Police’s headquarters disposal box is available year-round.

Patrick Larsen is VPM News' environment and energy reporter, and fill-in host.
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