Sep 30, 2014
1 comment

One reason citizens turned in 60 pounds of drugs at a Richmond Police Department (RPD) Prescription Drug Take-Back event on Saturday is some realized a simple Tylenol resolved their pain issues, according to police.

RPD held the take-back event at Richmond Public Library. While the 60 pounds police received from citizens paled in comparison to the 100 pounds handed over during an April take-back event, police Sgt. Tim Simmons says a bin that is permanently placed in the lobby of police headquarters is being used more frequently.

“I serviced the bin two weeks ago and collected approximately 15 pounds of prescription drugs,” Simmons said. “I see this almost every other week.”

A vast majority of the medication handed over to police are Opiate based pain killers such as Norco, Vicodin, and Oxycodone, Simmons said, which are dangerous, addictive and frequently sold on the streets. Unused or unwanted pills stored in homes can end up in the wrong hands, including children’s, and take back events offer legal, safe disposal.

What’s more interesting is why people generally want to get rid of the pills.

“Many people are prescribed these medications after having minor surgeries or even basic dental work,” Simmons said. “Most people realize that a simple Tylenol resolves their pain issue and never consume the potent narcotic prescribed to them. Or if they need something stronger, they use only a portion of the medication prescribed to them.”

The Richmond Standard’s editor asked his own dentist, who agreed over-the-counter pain relievers work remarkably well when consumed in proper time, and often better than prescription medication since there are fewer side effects.

Simmons added, “We get a lot of people who have loved ones that pass away and are left with a plethora of medication to dispose of, and they use these events and the drop box to do just that.”

Three times a year, RPD partners with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and local community groups to reclaim mass quantities of unused and unwanted prescription drugs. The permanent bin provided in the Police Department lobby at 1701 Regatta Blvd. was funded through a grant.


  1. A newspaper shouldn’t write up a drug without mentioning, at least, its side effects. Here’s what says about Tylenol:

    “Tylenol is not without its serious complications. It is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States, and the drug in some cases led to fatalities. The active ingredient in Tylenol, acetaminophen, accounts for more than 100,000 calls to poison centers, roughly 60,000 emergency-room visits and hundreds of deaths each year in the United States. In England, it is the leading cause of liver failure requiring transplants. In 2009, the FDA issued guidelines for adding overdose guidelines to packages and in 2011, the agency confirmed the link between the drug and liver damage.

    In October 2013, Johnson & Johnson will add a warning to the caps of bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol warning consumers that the drug contains acetaminophen and may cause liver failure. Severe liver damage from the drug led people to file lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and/or McNeil. On April 1, 2013, a judge consolidated several federal lawsuits in multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.”

    Maybe you don’t personally know anybody who died from Tylenol poisoning. Still …

    richard katz | Sep 30th, 2014

About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.