Hundreds take part in National Drug Take Back Day in Cuyahoga County

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CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH -- On Saturday, people across Cuyahoga County dropped off their unused or expired prescription medications for National Drug Take Back Day.

For some, the medications are a reminder of tough times.

"I wanted them out of our house," David Heppner. "My sister in law was living with us, she passed away from cancer about two months ago -- and we've been trying to figure out how to get rid of these."

Whether a frequent participant or hearing about it for the first time, officials said they are seeing an increase during the National Drug Take Back Days.

"I think for two reasons. Because of the opioid crisis, people are more aware of it. It's in the media, and also the fact that we advertise it and promote it heavily," said Jeffery Capretto of the West Shore Enforcement Bureau Drug Task Force.

The DEA and Cuyahoga County are encouraging citizens to safely dispose of old or unwanted prescription medication to help curb its misuse and protect the environment.

"I, in fact, have five grandchildren. It's important to me for the environment that these are disposed of properly and not through our water system," said Capretto.

He said he likes to remind people that there are drop off boxes available all year round at certain locations, like police stations, no questions asked.

Another first this year, people being encouraged to bring vaping devices, cartridges and oils.

"Vaping right now is becoming an issue, particularly with the young people," said Capretto.

Just this week, the CDC confirmed 34 deaths and more than 1600 cases related to e-cigarettes and vaping.

"The DEA stepped up, and I'm glad they did," Capretto added.

On National Drug Take-Back day in April of this year, the DEA reported that the state of Ohio collected nearly 51,000 pounds of medication.

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