Shaler, Millvale to participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
Norma and Dave Hufnagel of Etna lost their son, David, to a heroin overdose in 2007. They have worked since 2011 to prevent subsequent opioid overdoses by assisting with Shaler’s annual Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
The Shaler Township Police Department is holding this year’s event, in cooperation with the Drug Enforcement Agency, as part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. It will occur from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 27 at Shaler North Hills Library, 1822 Mount Royal Blvd.
Furthermore, people may leave prescription drugs in the permanent prescription drug take back box 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday in the police station lobby, 300 Wetzel Road, Glenshaw. People may schedule after-hours drop offs by calling 412-492-2222. The box is courtesy of the PA Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.
The police department accepts both prescription and over-the-counter drugs on drug take back day and in the permanent collection box. People may dispose of medications in their original containers or in sealed, plastic bags; liquids must remain in their original containers. The department cannot accept needles, syringes or lancets in the drop box.
Shaler collected more than 300 pounds of drugs during its last Prescription Drug Take Back Day in October 2018, according to Police Chief Bryan Kelly.
“We become so excited as meds are brought in, and we always are so excited for the final number to come in. One year, we collected the most meds in all of Allegheny County. We take this total very personally,” Hufnagel said.
Following her son’s death, Hufnagel approached then-state Rep. Randy Vulakovich about organizing a local drug take back day in conjunction with the Shaler Township Police Department.
“My husband and I attend every Take Back Day. We have a picture of David displayed along with literature — both drug-related and health-related. We make the event a very welcoming event; we greet each person and talk with them. On occasion, we can point people in the right direction to receive help for a family member or friend,” Hufnagel said.
She and her husband also distribute flyers promoting the event.
Kelly said that the Hufnagels have “done a really great job” promoting the program.
“They help with the collection. A lot of times, people, if they see a uniformed police officer are kind of taken back, but Norma kind of sits there and greets everyone and kind of puts them at ease,” he said.
Kelly praised the library for partnering with the department on the event.
“The library is pleased to offer our community a safe, responsible way of discarding medications no longer needed. This program helps raise awareness for people about not keeping medications they no longer need, making homes safer for seniors, helping address the opioid crisis, while also protecting our environment and waterways,” Beth Lawry, library adult services manager, said.
“We try to make it as convenient as possible for the people,” Kelly said of hosting the event at the library. “At one point, depending on the weather, we had like a drive-thru — they didn’t have to get out of their car to walk up the stairs.”
Medicap Pharmacy at 225 Grant Ave. in Millvale strives to make its Prescription Drug Take Back Day, also from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 27, accessible.
Elaine Trapani, pharmacist and Medicap owner of 30 years, said pharmacy employees will pick up medication, excluding used syringes, that Lloyd McBride Court and Alverno Apartments senior housing residents leave at their housing offices. People may schedule pick-ups at other Millvale locations by calling the pharmacy at 412-821-1524.
The Medicap drive occurs in partnership with the Millvale Police Department.