Last updated: July 24. 2013 1:57PM - 477 Views

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PDT Staff Writer

The Scioto County Sheriff’s Office, the Portsmouth Police Department and the New Boston Police Department are three of the 66 law enforcement agencies in southern Ohio that will be awarded secure prescription drug drop boxes by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office in an effort to reduce drug abuse in their communities.

The AG’s Office is partnering with the Ohio Department of Health and the Drug Free Action Alliance to provide the free collection bins as part of their newly established Ohio Prescription Drug Drop Box Program announced in July. Every agency that applied for a drop box will receive one.

“When a person has unwanted or unneeded prescriptions in their home there is always the chance that they could end up in the hands of a child, a teenager or even a drug addict,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. “By providing these secure drop boxes, residents will now be able to safely discard of their medications without any concern that the pills could hurt someone.”

The drop boxes are mailbox-style disposal bins that can be placed inside law enforcement agencies to be used by residents during normal business hours. Officers will then be required to safely dispose of the pills.

In July Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini announced he had made application for the boxes.

“I read the contents of the Attorney General’s news release and am very supportive of the program and how it will allow individuals from the community to have an option on a daily basis to safely and legally dispose of their expired and/or unwanted medicines,” Donini said. “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.”

Dr. Ted Wymyslo, Director of the Ohio Department of Health praised the efforts.

“Allowing Ohioans to dispose of prescription medications in a timely manner will reduce the risk of these medications being diverted or misused,” Wymyslo said. “I am proud of the collaboration between agencies in their efforts to safeguard Ohio families from this epidemic.”

During a recent one-day Drug Take Back Day orchestrated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Ohioans returned more than nine tons of prescription pills at 223 collections sites.

Southern Ohio is considered the epicenter for prescription drug abuse in the state.

“For the last couple of years, the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office has actively participated in pharmaceutical collection events here in Scioto County, and have collected hundreds of pounds of unwanted medications,” Donini said. “These events themselves have allowed the community to have an option of safely and legally disposing of their expired and or unwanted medicines.”

The Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services is also supporting the program through funding provided to the Drug Free Action Alliance. The drop boxes will be purchased from the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators and will be delivered within the next few weeks.

“Drug Free Action Alliance is a proud partner of this program that helps Ohio communities reduce access to unused prescription medications through safe disposal methods,” Marcie Seidel, Drug Free Action Alliance Executive Director said. “These communities are proactively taking steps that will strengthen their neighborhoods and potentially save lives.”

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

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