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Home » Uncategorized » Drug Take Back Day collects 51 pounds of medications

Drug Take Back Day collects 51 pounds of medications


Tuesday, November 24, 2020; Deming, NM: Luna County residents were part of a record-breaking disposal of unused medications for the nation during October’s Drug Take Back Day. Nationwide over 985,392 pounds – almost 493 tons – of expired, unused, and unwanted medications were removed from homes in the one-day event, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

(From left to right) Deming Police Department’s Sergeant Standridge joins Lieutenant Detective Sergio Lara and Code Officer Ernie Jasso during Drug Take Back Day.

In Luna County, almost 51 pounds of medications were collected, mostly in Deming. “We saw a steady flow of people all day, mostly seniors who were already turning out before we event set up,” said Deming Police Lieutenant Detective Sergio Lara who directed the drive-through collection location at the Wal-Mart parking lot. 

The Columbus location, which was offered for the first time and staffed by the New Mexico State Police, received less medication but saw continual stream of residents seeking information on medication safety, according to John Costilla-Gonzalez, of the Coalition Against Teen using Substances (CATS), a committee of the Luna County Health Council. CATS helped coordinate and staff the day’s efforts. 

New Mexico State Police Officer Jonathan Muñoz brought Drug Take Back Day to Columbus for the first time.

“The seniors were highly appreciative of the opportunity to clean out their medicine cabinets for Drug Take Back Day,” Lt. Lara added of the day’s success.

Deming Police Chief Alex Valdespino said, “Lt. Detective Lara did a wonderful job, and we are very happy to participate in the program.”

Though the collection did not break the local event’s weight record, Chief Valdespino noted it was a positive turn out by the community, “Events, like Drug Take Back Day, get prescription medication off the street and disposed of properly to keep the environment safe.”

The collected medication is turned over to the DEA and incinerated. According to the U.S. Environmental Agency (EPA) this method is the only reliable, and scientifically-proven way to break down chemical bonds and render the drugs harmless.

DEA Acting Administrator Timothy Shea said, “Every day is Take Back Day, and we encourage the public to continue to address this urgent safety and public health issue by using the thousands of existing drop-off locations throughout the year.”

Even though the regular MedReturn medication disposal unit at the Deming Police Department lobby is closed due to public health order, Chief Valdespino reminds residents that they can call the department to make an appointment to dispose of their unwanted medications. “Make sure to check their prescription expiration dates; if you do have expired medications bring it us.”

For the holiday season, Chief Valdespino reminds residents to “store all medications in a safe place – out of out-of-sight or reach of children – and don’t share your medications with anybody.”

Costilla-Gonzalez praised local law enforcement efforts on behalf of CATS, “The success in our county is thanks to the Deming Police Department and New Mexico State Police who gave their time to see unused medications in our community are removed so families won’t be at risk of misuse or abuse of prescription drugs.”

To arrange to drop off mediations at the Deming Police Department call (575) 546-3011.

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

This news release is made available by the Coalition Against Teen using 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).