Agents collect 25 pounds of pills

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 11, 2011

Turnout at Thursday’s “Take Back Prescription Pills” events was minimal, with collections coming in at less than half of the 88-pounds collected in Andalusia last year.

DTF agent David Harrell with the approximately 25 pounds of pills collected in Opp Thursday.

Simultaneous drop-offs of unwanted prescriptions were held at pharmacies in Florala and Opp.

Drug Task Force agent David Harrell, along with assistant DTF commander Paul Hudson, manned the booth at T&C Pharmacy, where turnout was the best of the two locations.

“I’d say we’ve collected anywhere from 25 to 30 pounds,” Harrell said. “We’ve got a one whole garbage bag and the half of another filled of prescription pill bottles.

“Anytime we can do these programs it is beneficial to community,” he said. “We had a little bit more (turned in) than I thought we’d get.”

Harrell said the pills ranged from over-the-counter antacid medicine for heartburn to narcotics.

“We’ve had quite a bit of heart medicine dropped off, too, and even some antihistamines,” he said.

Harrell said events such as these are a good way for agents to interact with the community.

“We got to meet a lot of people in the community, who otherwise don’t know us,” he said. “This is a good way for us to help the community get rid of unwanted medications.”

Florala Police Chief Sonny Bedsole said turnout was “light” at Florala Pharmacy, where only a few handfuls of prescriptions pills had been turned in.

“Those were hydrocodone pills, though,” he said.

That booth, which was manned by Bedsole, DTF commander Mark Odom and DTF agent Greg Jackson, also saw collections of some over-the-counter medicines and prescription cough syrup.

All the medicines collected will be destroyed, agents said.

There are plans under way to hold the drop-off events annually, Odom said.

“We do this in a partnership with the Children’s Policy Council,” he said. “It benefits the community on multiple fronts to hold these events. It keeps these pills and medicines off the streets, out of our children’s hands and keeps our environment clean when people don’t flush them down the toilet.”