SUNSET — Sunset may be the smallest city geographically in Davis County, but in four hours Saturday, it collected more prescription drugs than the other four drop-off points in the county.
“We collected 528 pounds,” said Sunset Police Lt. Bruce Arbogast. “This was by far the most we’ve collected, ever.”
The Sunset Police Department, along with other agencies across the state, participated in the fifth National Drug Take Back Day on Saturday.
The event is sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the state’s Department of Human Resources and local police agencies.
Sunset’s total brought the amount collected by Layton, Clinton, Bountiful and Syracuse to 990 pounds, said Davis County Sheriff’s Sgt. Susan Poulsen.
Throughout the state, 4,816 pounds were collected, said Sue Thomas, supervisory special agent with the DEA in Salt Lake City.
Arbogast said much of what was collected in Sunset came from an assisted living facility in Roy.
Its staff members had collected unused and expired prescription medications from their clients but had no idea where to dispose of them.
The staff stuffed the medications into two vehicles and brought them to a drop-off at the Smith’s store in Sunset.
Sunset police officers, along with Davis County sheriff’s deputies, put all the medication into 21 boxes, each weighing 20 to 30 pounds, Arbogast said.
Syracuse Police Lt. Tracy Jensen said his officers collected 149 pounds of prescription drugs during the same time Saturday at the Smith’s store in Syracuse.
Layton officers collected more than 190 pounds of prescription drugs, said Layton Police Lt. Garret Atkin.
The drugs were turned over to the DEA for disposal.
A number of local law enforcement agencies in Box Elder, Weber and Davis counties have permanent drug recovery boxes where residents can take their old medications.
Roy Police Chief Greg Whinham said people dispose of old medications in the Roy drop-off box every day.
Liz Solis, spokeswoman with the Department of Human Services, said Utah hosts a drug take-back day every six months.
The next one is scheduled in April.
Solis said most people assume that painkillers are the only prescription drugs that are abused.
Anti-anxiety medication, sleeping pills and even Ritalin is abused, she said.
“The No. 1 reason people say they end up abusing prescriptions is because they’re legal,” Solis said. “People start out using them for legitimate reasons and then just abuse them.”
According to the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin combined.
A number of local law enforcement facilities have permanent disposal bins where people can drop off unused or expired medications all year.