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Drugs, recyclables get dumped

Volunteers fill a second trailer at the electronics recycling event Saturday in the Civic Center parking lot. The electronics recycling event, sponsored by Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful, was held in conjunction with a law enforcement sponsored drop off of outdated and unwanted medications on the same lot Saturday.

Volunteers fill a second trailer at the electronics recycling event Saturday in the Civic Center parking lot. The electronics recycling event, sponsored by Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful, was held in conjunction with a law enforcement sponsored drop off of outdated and unwanted medications on the same lot Saturday.

ALBANY, Ga. -- Drivers pulled up by the hundreds to get rid of their outdated/unwanted drugs and electronics Saturday in the rear parking lot of the Albany Civic Center.

The drop-off recycling effort combined the drug drop off sponsored by area law enforcement agencies and the electronic junking project sponsored by Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful.

"This is the eighth year for the electronics drop off and the second for the drug drop off," said Judy Bowles, the beautification organization's executive director. "It is amazing we have filled one semi truck and working on the second."

Last year the electronics topped out at 47,000 pounds, Bowles said. Operation Pill Drop, where residents gave their unwanted drugs to law enforcement officers anonymously with no questions asked, took in about 300 pounds of pharmaceuticals last year, she added.

"Last year was our first year and I think people cleaned out a little. We collected 107 pounds of pills this year," said Maj. Bill Berry, commander of the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit. "We're getting mostly pain pills like vicodin and oxycodone. Some people have had someone in their family pass on and are getting rid of their medications."

Kim Mitchell, of Albany, drove up with what looked like a dozen or more bottles of prescription medications.

"This drop off is great to get rid of the medications," Mitchell said. "My grandmother passed away and I know not to flush the pills."

That is the main idea according to volunteers at the drop off. Medications thrown in the trash can leach into the ground and flushed drugs can kill bacteria that break down sewerage in a waste water treatment plant, damage septic systems and possibly enter the water supply.

Supplying an introduction to the drive through as people drove up, Debbie Berley, a Georgia Power employee and volunteer, greeted drivers rolling down their windows with a cheerful smile.

"Thank you for coming today. Let me explain the routine," Berley said. "Are you here to drop off medicine or electronics today?"

With Berley's instructions on which lane to take the drivers rolled through the drop off smoothly.