The annual drug take-back event for pharmaceuticals was Saturday in Houston. There were 243.5 pounds collected. From left: Houston Police Chief Jim McNiell, Houston resident Tammy Cantrell drops off items and Tim Ceplina, a Houston officer. 

The eighth annual drug take-back event last Saturday at Walmart in Houston resulted in a significant haul of unwanted prescription drugs turned in for disposal by local citizens.

The event was sponsored locally by the Houston Police Department, Texas County Sheriff’s Department, Big Piney River Stream Team and Missouri Watershed Association. Houston Police Chief Jim McNiell said 243.5 pounds of drugs were taken in, enough to fill seven large boxes.

The drugs will be transferred to a U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) facility in St. Louis where they’ll be properly incinerated.

Part of a nationwide drug take-back program, the event has in the past been funded by the DEA, but funding is being halted and this year’s program was likely the last.

“I hate to see that, because it’s been a very worthwhile effort,” McNiell said. “It gives people a place to get rid of with their unwanted prescription drugs with no questions asked.”

McNiell said prescription drugs can still be disposed of in a specially designed metal box inside the lobby at the Texas County Jail on Spruce Street in Houston.

“I’m going to work on finding a method of having them destroyed legally and environmentally effectively so we can continue accumulating them for people,” he said. “We’ve had a great partnership with the DEA, and I’m sorry to see it cease. It seems like so much money is wasted on programs that aren’t really worthwhile. This was one of the better programs that benefits so many people.”

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