D.A.R.E. officers collect 8,500 pills

By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Police collected more than 8,500 unused and unwanted pills during last week’s campaign to raise awareness about prescription drug dangers.
As part of D.A.R.E. RX/OTC Awareness Week, Tupelo police had encouraged people to drop off unused medication at any of three locations so it could be properly destroyed before it ended up in the wrong hands or mouths.
“People really turned out and brought us all the medications they had lying around the house,” said Capt. Ikey Carmack. “There were some pretty dangerous stuff in there that people could abuse, so to get this stuff destroyed is a real plus for the citizens, especially the young people.”
Carmack said prescription drug abuse is the fastest-growing addiction among teens.
Although most of the pills collected weren’t highly coveted by users and dealers, about $4,000 in potential street value drugs was among the pile. More than 800 of the pills were Schedule II narcotics that could be sold for profit.
Police Chief Tony Carleton said D.A.R.E. RX/OTC Awareness Week was a valuable teaching tool for parents and teenagers.
“I think this helped to bring a problem to light in many households,” said Carleton. “A lot of people just had the medicine in their cabinets and didn’t think anything more about it. But in the wrong hands they could have been dangerous.”
Carleton said that because the D.A.R.E. officers work with the students every day, they are able to identify problems that affect the youngsters.
“They do a great job of monitoring the students to see what’s going on in their lives,” said Carleton. “And that’s how events like this one get started. They identify a problem and act on them.”
Those who weren’t able to drop their drugs off can contact the Tupelo Police Department.
The drugs will be picked up by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and destroyed. Carmack said because of its success, the department will have other drop-off events in the future.

Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.