It was about time. Santa Clara resident Xiaodong Zhang had put off the task for nearly a decade.
“It’s been almost ten years since I cleaned out the unused medications,” said Zhang. “When I saw the ‘Rx Take Back’ email from the police department, I decided it was time to do something.”
The Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD) was once again participating in a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) National Rx Take Back Day, Oct. 28. SCPD notified residents via an e-blast.
So, Zhang gathered her outdated prescription meds and dropped them off outside at the Santa Clara Police Station. Reserve police officers Ed Karl and David Raymaker assisted as residents stopped by between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Raymaker, a SCPD reservist for 29 years, is doing what he loves.
“I love being a reserve officer,’ said Raymaker, who retired from a fire service career in San Mateo County. “My whole career has been public service, so it fits me.”
“The Santa Clara Police Department works hard at maintaining community support and meeting community needs,” he said.
A Sunnyvale resident, Karl has been a SCPD reservist for 38 years. Although he retired as an engineer from Applied Materials, he is still living his childhood dream of being a police officer.
“As a police officer, I’m part of the community, helping out, making a difference,” he said.
That day, both officers made a difference by raising awareness of the importance of safe disposal of unneeded medications. Safe disposal keeps them off the streets and reduces the chance of children getting into them. It protects the environment, keeping medications out of landfills and from contaminating the water supply when flushed into the sewer systems.
The SCPD filled six cardboard bins Oct. 28.
On the April 2023 National Drug Take-Back Day, 4,497 law enforcement departments participated, collecting 663,725 pounds (332 tons) of meds, which were burned. Since the DEA began the Rx Take Back in 2010, it has collected more than 17,300,454 pounds (8,650 tons).
If you missed the October Rx Take Back and don’t want (as Zhang did) to wait a decade—or even until next year, safely dispose of medications year-round inside the SCPD station at 601 El Camino Real or its Northside Substation, 3992 Rivermark Parkway.
Check online for additional community disposal locations.
Keep the community safe, like neighbors Karl, Raymaker and Zhang.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor is a column where we casually interview people we meet in Silicon Valley. The Won’t You Be My Neighbor column hopes to highlight what makes Santa Clara, Sunnyvale and the rest of the South Bay special — the people who live, work and play here.