Last updated: July 24. 2013 1:35PM - 112 Views

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PDT Staff Writer

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Monday that more than 300 pounds of unwanted or unneeded prescription drugs were collected this weekend during a “Prescription Drug Take Back Day” in Scioto County.

Members of the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Unit and Bureau of Criminal Investigation joined representatives from Kroger, Cardinal Health, Boehringer Ingelheim, the Portsmouth Police Department, the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office and the Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office to collect the medications Saturday.

“We cannot stress enough how important it is to get rid of those old, unneeded prescription drugs that are sitting in your medicine cabinet,” said Attorney General DeWine. “The medications could end up in the hands of addicts or even children, and we need to keep our families safe.”

Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, and Methadone were among the thousands of pills disposed of Saturday at two Scioto County locations. The Portsmouth Kroger location collected 117 pounds, while the Wheelersburg Kroger location collected 201 pounds for a total of 318 pounds.

“Pharmaceutical collection events are a great idea and have allowed the community to have the option of safely and legally disposing of their expired and/or unwanted medicines,” Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini said.

During a similar event last year, residents dropped off approximately 100 pounds of prescription drugs. “The fact that the amount of unwanted prescription drugs collected tripled this year shows that Ohioans are taking this problem seriously,” DeWine said. “Law enforcement will now take these medications and properly and safely dispose of them.”

Southern Ohio has been described as the epicenter of prescription drug abuse in Ohio, leading authorities to hold the special drug take back day in Scioto County, in addition to the two national prescription drug take back days recognized in April and October. Earlier this month, the Attorney General announced a program to supply free prescription drug disposal boxes in southern Ohio. With the help of the Ohio Department of Health and Drug Free Action Alliance, approximately 75 permanent prescription drug drop boxes will be awarded to southern Ohio law enforcement agencies. Scioto County authorities have applied one of the drop boxes as well as an incinerator. The recipients of the boxes are expected to be announced next month.

“I think it’s a great idea, and the Sheriff’s Office has stepped up to the front of the line and has already applied not only for a permanent drug drop box to be placed in the lobby of the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office, but in addition, we have also agreed to accept the responsibility of being designated to serve as a regional destruction site for the pills collected from other law enforcement agencies drug drop boxes within the area which could result in the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office receiving a portable drug incinerator where the drugs collected can be destroyed locally on site,” Donini said.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at flewis@heartlandpublications.com

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