Mike Gimbel, the county's former drug czar of 25 years, wants Baltimore residents to seriously consider taking advantage of the annual National Take Back Initiative this weekend.
Baltimore County police, working alongside Drug Enforcement Administration agents, are hosting three no-questions-asked prescription drug collections at precincts across the county. The collections are part of a national effort to safely remove prescription drugs from the home.
"The issue is that abuse of prescription drugs affects the entire population ... teens and seniors, alike," Gimbel, a Timonium resident, said. "We have people overdosing more from prescription pills than heroin and cocaine combined."
Officers and agents will be stationed at the precincts between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The release states that anyone showing up after 2 p.m. will be sent away.
"Residents should drop off medications in the original packaging or remove them and place the drugs into the disposal box," the according to a release. "Liquid medications should be tightly sealed and in the original containers. Remove any identifying information that may be on the prescription label."
The initiative focuses on safely disposing potentially dangerous drugs.
Gimbel also serves as the director of the drug and alcohol diversion program Powered By Me! at St. Joseph Medical Center. He said patients hang on to unused pills for months or even years on end, which adds to the problem.
"It's a real dilemma that we have ... that we need to use these drugs in the first place. Then people say 'I'll just keep what I have until I need them again so I don't have to go back to the doctor,'" Gimbel said.
The drug expert went on to explain the rise in thefts both in the home and at local pharmacies. "We have pharmacies robbed of Oxycontin and not even cash," Gimbel explained.
He also noted a tactic in which drug addicts will pose as interested home buyers and attend open houses just to take a peak into someone's medicine cabinet. Senior citizens are often the victims of "handymen" or "workers" who are also known to take advantage of an unlocked medicine drawer, according to Gimbel.