SALEM - Prescription drug drop-off sites have started popping up at law enforcement agencies around the state -- and now some mortuaries are stepping up to help.
So far this year, Salem Police said they have had more than 400 pounds of prescription drugs dropped off. KGW was there as members of the Salem Police Crime Prevention Unit emptied a bin from a prescription drug drop-off at the station on Tuesday.
The officers bagged the drugs, weighed them and handed them over for safekeeping before they're disposed of. But that's nothing compared to what officers took in over the weekend during a prescription drug drop-off event.
Around 150 pounds of prescription drugs filled about six large boxes.
"We don't want to have these things flushed or put into the landfills," said Sgt. Jim Welsh with the Salem Police Department.
To help prevent that, Salem Police have placed brochures at area mortuaries informing family members that there is a place to dispose of medications that aren't needed anymore.
"We've had people come in with pounds of medication that they're getting rid of from a deceased loved one," Welsh said.
At Virgil T. Golden Funeral Services, Tom Golden said they're sometimes asked what to do with the medication of deceased loved ones.
"The majority of health care is provided in the last years of a person's life. So when you think of medication, many families don't realize how much medication an individual may be on. [So they] could have been taking the medication that's left there, but then how to dispose of it," said Golden.
The drop-off box is now set up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the lobby to make sure the drugs don't end up in the toilet or in the wrong hands.
"Prescription drugs are left in somebody's house that are not being used are no good to folks. They might as well be turned in because otherwise kids can get their hands on them and potentially overdose," added Sgt. Welsh.
Beaverton Police have a prescription drop-off site in the lobby at their station located at 4755 Southwest Griffith Drive, too.
There are also three drop off sites in Portland:
In the lobbies of each Portland Police precinct - East (737 S.E. 106th Avenue)
North (449 N.E. Emerson)
Central (1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue)