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Drug turn-in, shred day called a success

Would-be identity thieves and drug dealers have a smaller product pool to pull from after a weekend event that disposed of unneeded prescription drugs and sensitive documents.

Police officials from the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement — MADGE — Team reported the sixth Drug Take-Back Day and Free Shred Event netted 148 pounds of unused prescription drugs and 4,200 pounds of documents and papers to be shredded. All disposed goods and documents were brought by individuals Saturday to the parking lot behind Medford City Hall. The event was part of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

"It was a good haul; I'm impressed," said Lt. Brett Johnson of MADGE. "We're happy with the results."

In the five previous similar events held nationwide, more than 2 million pounds, or 1,018 tons, of unused prescription medications have been disposed of and destroyed.

"A lot of times people put it in their medicine cabinet and they forget about it," Johnson said of unneeded medication. "This puts it into (a) system where it's going to get destroyed."

Drug take-back programs help reduce the number of unused opiate-based painkillers that could be abused or sold on the black market, he explained.

Additionally, Rogue Disposal & Recycling collected the 4,200 pounds of paper documents to be shredded for free. Police said proper disposal of sensitive documents by an accredited agency reduces the likelihood of individual identity theft.

"Some people throw that stuff in the garbage willy-nilly," Johnson said.

Though the event has ended, prescription drugs can still be dropped off at Medford police headquarters, 411 W. Eighth St., Medford, in the first-floor lobby. Needles, thermometers, infectious or bloody waste, inhalers, medications from businesses, hospitals or other medical agencies, hydrogen peroxide and aerosol cans will not be accepted.

Rogue Disposal also has a shredding service for sensitive documents. A bag can be purchased for $6.50 and when filled returned to Rogue Disposal for shredding. Bags can be purchased at local American Family Insurance offices or at the Rogue Disposal office at 8001 Table Rock Road, White City. For more information, see www.rogueshredonline.com.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at rpfeil@mailtribune.com.