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Home » Uncategorized » Columbus joins Drug Take Back Day in Luna County

Columbus joins Drug Take Back Day in Luna County


Wednesday, October 21, 2020; Columbus, NM: For the first time, the Columbus will join the effort to safely remove prescriptions and over-the-counter medications from homes before the holidays during the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Columbus Courthouse, 244 Lima St.

“It’s the perfect time to get prescription medication that’s not used out of homes and keep it from falling into the wrong hands,” said New Mexico State Police Officer Jonathan Muñoz, who will be on-hand at Drug Take Back Day in Columbus.

Columbus Mayor Esequiel Salas was excited with the prospect of his community participating for the first time, “It’s a good thing, and our residents need it more than once a year!” Salas also encourages residents to take advantage of the opportunity to dispose of their unused medications.

The newest location for Drug Take Back Day in Columbus is hosted by the New Mexico State Police while coinciding with a second location offered by the Deming Police Department at the WalMart, 1021 E. Pine St., Deming.

Deming Police Chief Alex Valdespino said, “Drug Take Back Day gives a change to get unused medications out of the homes, we’ve seen medication fall into the wrong hands, locally a child took medications to school and tried to sell it.”

The best way to assure of unused, unwanted, or expired medications are not misused is to dispose of them safely at Drug Take Back Day, which usually happens twice a year, in October and April. Unfortunately, the quarantine for COVID-19 virus caused the April event to be canceled, making this October’s event all the more important, according to Deming Chief Valdespino.

“Usually our lobby’s medication disposal box is available – and we are constantly emptying it – but our lobby has been closed so people haven’t had the opportunity to bring medication in until now,” Chief Valdespino said.

Last year, Drug Take Back Day collected more than 882,919 pounds of prescription drugs at 11,000 sites across the United States, including in Deming where 11 pounds was collected.

“This year we are hoping for more medications to be disposed of with the addition of Columbus City Hall joining the effort,” said John Costilla-Gonzalez of the Coalition Against Teen using Substances (CATS), a committee of the Luna County Health Council and a program of the Center for Health Innovation. CATS help coordinate and staff Drug Take Back Day in the county.

Both Drug Take Back Day locations in Luna County will offer drive through medication disposal and participants are asked to wear masks. All medication products and liquids will be accepted. Liquid products, such as cough syrup, should remain in their original container. Please ensure that the cap is tightly sealed to prevent leakage. All sites will not accept intravenous solutions, injectables, and syringes due to potential hazards posed by blood-borne pathogens.  

Year after year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that most misused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends. This includes someone else’s medication being stolen from home medicine cabinets.

In Luna County, 22 percent of female High School students reported taking a prescription painkiller without a prescription on the 2017 Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey, a self-reported survey of the healthy and not-so-healthy behaviors of youth. That is eight percent higher than the state’s reported average of 16 percent.

Deming Police Chief Valdespino advices families to “secure their medication in a locked cabinet or out-of-reach of children.”

“It’s especially important because as during Christmas people get more depressed, and we see more misuse of prescription medications,” added Officer Muñoz. “Once you remove unused medications out of the home, families have to worry about.”

“We hope to see lots of people bring their medications and drop them off,” Deming Police Chief Valdespino.

If you are unable to attend Drug Take Back Day, Chief Valdespino urges residents to contact his office to arrange to drop off mediations at the Deming Police Department lobby by calling (575) 546-3011.

Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with two locations Columbus Courthouse, 244 Lima St., and the Deming WalMart, 1021 E. Pine St. Visit a map of Drug Take Back Day locations in southwest New Mexico.

This event is sponsored and supported by the DEA, Deming Police Department, New Mexico State Police, Luna County Health Council, CATS, Village of Columbus, and WalMart.

For more information on Drug Take Back Day contact John Costilla-Gonzalez at (575) 597-0038 or email:

This news release is made available by the Coalition Against Teen Substances (CATS), a program of the Center for Health Innovation, New Mexico’s designated Public Health Institute, and funded by the New Mexico Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (OSAP).