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The Gustine Police Department now has a drug drop off box for residents to dispose of expired or unneeded prescription medications.

The collection box is an extension of the nationwide drug take back events sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Over the years the DEA has collected more than 4.1 million pounds of prescription medications.

According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.7 million people misused prescription pain relievers, 4.9 million people misused prescription stimulants, and 5.9 million people misused prescription tranquilizers or sedatives in 2019. The survey also showed that a majority of misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.

Opioid-related visits to the emergency room rose 28.5% last year compared to 2018 and 2019, according to a recent study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. 

The DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day in April collected 839,543 pounds (419.7 tons) of unused, expired, and unwanted medications across the country. Americans once again showed their dedication toward helping prevent addiction and potential overdose by removing prescription pills from their homes. The April event included 4,425 community partners at 5,060 collection sites throughout the country.

“DEA’s biannual Take Back Day events are critical to helping reduce overdose deaths and alleviate addiction by safely disposing of prescription medications that sit idle in the home,” said DEA Acting Administrator D. Christopher Evans. “DEA is committed to providing a safe and secure method for the public to rid their homes of potentially dangerous drugs.”

DEA, along with its law enforcement partners, has now collected 14,524,391 pounds of medications since the inception of the National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative in 2010. On Oct. 24, 2020, the public turned in a record 985,392 pounds – almost 493 tons – of medication to DEA and 4,153 of its community partners at 4,587 collection sites nationwide, including 33 Bureau of Indian Affairs sites.

The DEA is hosting another drug take back day on Saturday. Both the Livingston and Los Banos police departments will be hosting drug take back events that day in Merced County.

The kiosk at the Gustine Police Department is available for prescription drug disposal. Please know there are restrictions as to what can be disposed of, and this includes no illicit drugs, needles, or other items listed. Officers cannot pick up these items to dispose of.

Questions about the excluded drugs can be directed to the Gustine Police Department at (209) 854-3737. 

The lobby is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays.