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Home » Uncategorized » Drug Take Back Day a success in Doña Ana County

Drug Take Back Day a success in Doña Ana County


Monday, May 20, 2019; Las Cruces, NM: Doña Ana County residents safely disposed of 873 pounds of medications at the most recent National Drug Take Back Day held in April. National Drug Take Back Day is a twice annual opportunity for the anonymous disposal of unwanted, unused or expired medications, assuring that they do not fall into the wrong hands.

“We are proud of the successful outcome of these events. The job isn’t done. We still have a way to go but, together we can make a positive impact,” said Doña Ana County Sherriff’s (DASO) Deputy Jamar Cotton. DASO sponsored three locations which collected 222 pounds of prescriptions. All the prescriptions collected will be incinerated following the Drug Enforcement Administration protocols.  

Take Back Day is a collective effort of many law enforcement and community organizations. “The Las Cruces Police Department is proud to continue working with our community partners to keep prescription drugs off the streets.” says Aaron Glymph, Las Cruces Police Department (LCPD) Community Liaison Officer and Neighborhood Watch Coordinator. As a result of this partnership the LCPD hosted four different collection sites yielding 393 pounds.

More than 75 percent of teens abusing prescription drugs reported obtaining them from family and friends, according to the Partnership for Drug-Free-Kids Where Families Find Answers.

“National Take Back Day is a way for us to reach out and help our community get unused and unwanted medication disposed of safely,” said Village of Hatch Police Chief Trey Gimler, “It is not uncommon to end up with medications that you don’t know how to get rid of. There is a need in our community for this program and our department was happy to participate.”

The Partnership urges people to be especially vigilant with prescription medicines known to be addictive or commonly abused. It further recommends monitoring dosages and refills, and to secure your medications to keep them safe from misuse and abuse.

On the most recent Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey, a self-reporting survey that gauges the healthy and not-so-healthy behaviors of New Mexico’s youth, 18 percent of Doña Ana County High School students self-reported using painkillers without a prescription during their lifetime, which is slightly higher than the state’s average of 16 percent.

“Our communities and law enforcement must work together if we hope to break the cycle of addiction and reduce overdose deaths, many of which are the result of the ongoing national opioid epidemic,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Kyle W. Williamson. 

This year Anthony and Sunland Park, NM saw an increase in collections at a combined 46 pounds of medications due to their coordinated community efforts. The uniqueness of these two communities’ efforts was the engagement and participation of their elected County Commissioner Ramon Gonzalez, District 2.

“The more people involved the more successful our efforts are. Having the Commissioner there to represent the community at our Take-Back Day site added an element that showcases Anthony’s ability to come together for the betterment of our people,” says City of Anthony Police Chief Vanessa Lara.

Unified Prevention (UP!) Coalition members were on hand across the county handing out Deterra Drug Deactivation System kits to people who came to the events. “Drug Take Back Day happens in the spring and fall and the Deterra bags provide a safe way to dispose of medication year-round. The availability of these resources are vital to the prevention efforts in our county,” says UP! Coalition program specialist Alyssa Myrick.

“Progress is taking steps to better the environment and the people who live within in. The Take Back success illustrates just a fraction of what it takes. With the efforts of multiple agencies, the UP! Coalition and the community, we are going in the right direction to cleaning up our community,” added Deputy Cotton.

National Drug Take Back Day was made possible by UP! Coalition, DEA Las Cruces, Las Cruces Police Department, Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office, New Mexico State Police, Anthony Police Department, Hatch Police Department and Sunland Park Police Department.

Medication disposal is available in Doña Ana County throughout the year at MedReturns located at Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office, 845 N. Motel Boulevard in Las Cruces, and the Hatch Police Department, 5 Chile Capital Lane.

For more information contact Marisol Diaz at (575) 597-0042 or email:

This news release is made available by the Unified Prevention (UP!) Coalition for Doña Ana County, a program of the Center for Health Innovation, and funded by the New Mexico Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (OSAP).