VBPD promotes drug take-back program in midst of opioid epidemic

A drop-off box with the Virginia Beach Police Department's Prescription Medication Take Back Program.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — More than 100 people have died from overdoses in the last two years in the Resort City, and police say their Prescription Medication Take Back Program is designed to help save more lives in the future.

Nationwide in 2016, more than 250,00 kids under the age of six came in contact with medication at home. It’s those types of incidents that Sgt. Kevin Lokey is trying to prevent.

“Anything in excess is dangerous,” said Sgt. Lokey. “From the little kids who might accidentally get into it, open the bottle and take some to the teenagers who are looking for the recreational drug use to the drug abusers.”

The Virginia Beach Police Department is now spreading the word about their program with new posters that will soon be plastered citywide, from city libraries and recreation centers to hospitals and select Farm Fresh locations.

The blue boxes, located at all four police precincts, allow people to anonymously drop-off any kind of pills.

The drug take-back program in Virginia Beach started in 2015. The first year, more than 1,200 pounds of pills were collected. In 2017, people dropped off more than 3,100 pounds of medication.

  • 2015  –  1,227.5 pounds of medication collected
  • 2016  –  2,585.6 pounds of medication collected
  • 2017  –  3,138.5 pounds of medication collected

Lokey says he is happy with the success, but he knows there’s more people who are probably not using their full 30-day supply. He says keeping the pill bottles at home increases the chance it gets into the wrong hands.

“Some people only need a couple days’ worth, which means they’re usually having 20-25 pills left over and they usually just sit in the medicine cabinet,” he said.

Lokey says flushing or throwing out pills is bad for the environment, as they end up in the groundwater or landfill, and encourages people to do their part in disposing of them properly.

All medication collected in Virginia Beach is taken to an incinerator and burned.

Click for more information on similar programs in NorfolkSuffolk and Newport News.