A Los Angeles County sheriff's program encouraging safe disposal of leftover prescription drugs and hypodermic needles has kept several tons of potentially dangerous chemical and biological waste out of sewers and landfills this year, officials reported.
But the program has proven so popular that it's forced sheriff's officials to outsource disposal to another department, and has prompted suspicions that medical clinics — not private residents for whom the program was intended — are taking advantage of the free service.
The Safe Drug Drop-Off program allows residents to anonymously dispose of drug-related waste in modified mailbox containers that stand outside 20 sheriff's department stations throughout the county.
The Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station received 1,168 pounds of drugs and about 60,000 needles in its collection boxes this past year, said Capt. Dave Silversparre.
More than 13,500 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter medications were collected last year at the various stations, said Sgt. Alissa Dedmon of the department's Narcotics Bureau, which has overseen the program since its launch in September 2009.