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An estimated 300 pounds of returned medications — including potentially addictive narcotics — show just how important it is that the public dispose of unwanted drugs safely, say Windsor police.

The massive haul of pills, patches, capsules, tablets, injectables and other pharmaceuticals was the result of the most recent Take Back Your Drugs event organized by Windsor & Essex County Crime Stoppers.

Crime Stoppers program manager Ron Funkenhauser said the event — held April 11 in the Devonshire Mall parking lot — was his organization’s most successful yet, with 300 to 400 attendees.

Members of the public were invited to bring as much of their expired or unwanted medicines as possible, whether prescription or over-the-counter.

Windsor police Chief Al Frederick said the volume of drugs collected was “incredible,” and he applauded the efforts of Crime Stoppers.

“It demonstrates the involvement of our community in overall public safety,” he said.

Frederick said painkillers can fetch street prices as high as $100 a pill, and there’s a direct link between the illegal trade of prescription narcotics and violence in the community.

The majority of the materials that turned up at the April 11 event had no street value — dietary supplements, sleep aids, digestion aids, birth control pills, and everything in between.

“A lot of (people) will bring us a big Ziploc bag full of pills,” said Crime Stoppers member Const. Ryan Burney of the OPP.

However, among the many bags were some potent narcotics like Percocet and OxyContin, as well as synthetic opiates in patch form — Fentanyl. “We don’t want these in drug dealers’ hands,” Burney said.

By the end of the event, there were enough narcotics to fill a 10-pound bag. Estimated street value: $10,000.

Funkenhauser said all the materials collected will be destroyed or disposed of properly with the assistance of Ziter Pharmacy and the Health Products Stewardship Association. “It doesn’t go in a landfill, it doesn’t go down the sink,” he assured.

Along with drug disposal, the April 11 event also featured document-shredding in exchange for a small monetary donation.

Funkenhauser said the public’s response to that aspect of the event was also impressive, with total donations exceeding the previous times Crime Stoppers has offered document-shredding.

“It’s something that people really should be taking advantage of,” Funkenhauser said. “You don’t want to leave your sensitive documents (around), you don’t want to throw them in with the garbage or the recycling.”

The event was the seventh of its kind in Windsor-Essex. Crime Stoppers president Charlie Hotham said the program will continue, and the aim is to hold the event at least twice a year.

Published by the windsorstar.com