Va. Guard helps DEA haul & destroy tons of drugs

Sgt. 1st Class J.C. Rodriguez, part of the Virginia Guard Counterdrug Task Force, throws bags filled with expired or unwanted prescription medications, collected from around the state as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Take-Back Initiative, into Virginia Guard vehicles May 3, 2013, in Richmond, Va. After loading up the vehicles with nearly nine tons of drugs, Rodriguez, along with Soldiers from the 1173rd Transportation Company and an escort of DEA agents, hauled the drugs north to an incinerator in Northern Virginia for destruction. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Sgt. 1st Class J.C. Rodriguez, part of the Virginia Guard Counterdrug Task Force, throws bags filled with expired or unwanted prescription medications, collected from around the state as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Take-Back Initiative, into Virginia Guard vehicles May 3, 2013, in Richmond, Va. After loading up the vehicles with nearly nine tons of drugs, Rodriguez, along with Soldiers from the 1173rd Transportation Company and an escort of DEA agents, hauled the drugs north to an incinerator in Northern Virginia for destruction. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Guard Soldiers and one Airmen from the Virginia National Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force joined with Soldiers from the Martinsville-based 1173rd Transportation Company to help Richmond Drug Enforcement Administration agents loaded nearly 18,000 pounds of unwanted and expired medications into Virginia Guard trucks May 3, 2013, in Richmond, Va. After loading the many tons of drugs into their trucks, the Soldiers drove north, along with several DEA agents, to an incinerator in Northern Virginia where the drugs were unloaded and then destroyed.

Virginia Guard Soldiers and Airmen from the Virginia National Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force and Soldiers from the Martinsville-based 1173rd Transportation Company help Richmond Drug Enforcement Administration agents load approximately 17,800 pounds of unwanted or expired prescription drugs into Virginia Guard vehicles for haul away to an incinerator in Northern Virginia May 3, 2013, in Richmond, Va. The drug haul-away and destruction is part of the DEA’s National Take-Back Initiative, designed to properly dispose of potentially harmful prescription drugs. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

A Virginia Guard Soldier from the Martinsville-based 1173rd Transportation Company helps Richmond Drug Enforcement Administration agents load approximately 17,800 pounds of unwanted or expired prescription drugs into Virginia Guard vehicles for haul away to an incinerator in Northern Virginia May 3, 2013, in Richmond, Va. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

The drug haul away and destruction was part of the DEA’s National Take-Back Initiative, a program designed to “provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications,” according to the DEA website.

“This is important because we’re assisting with the proper destruction of perscription medication so it doesn’t get in our water system,” said Sgt. 1st Class J.C. Rodriguez of the Virginia Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force.

The drugs were collected from sites across the commonwealth of Virginia by local law enforcement agencies and then transported to the centrally-located DEA office in Richmond.

Drug Take Back events happen biannually across the country, once in the spring and once in the fall, and the Virginia Guard has assisted with the drug haul away and destruction for several years. According to the DEA’s website, “when added to the collections from DEA’s previous five Take-Back events, more than 2.8 million pounds (1,409 tons) of prescription medications have been removed from circulation.

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Photos: Virginia Guard helps DEA haul and destroy thousands of pounds of drugs – May 3, 2013

DEA’s National Take-Back Initiative

A multi-ton pile of unwanted or expired prescription drugs waits to be loaded onto Virginia Guard vehicles May 3, 2013, at the Drug Enforcement Administration facility in Richmond, Va. The Virginia Guard provided vehicles and troops to assist with the loading and transport of the drugs to an incinerator in Northern, Va. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

A multi-ton pile of unwanted or expired prescription drugs waits to be loaded onto Virginia Guard vehicles May 3, 2013, at the Drug Enforcement Administration facility in Richmond, Va. The Virginia Guard provided vehicles and troops to assist with the loading and transport of the drugs to an incinerator in Northern, Va. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)