County Council, District Attorney and Heroin Task Force unveil Delco Medicine Drop boxes
Proper disposal of unused or expired prescription drugs can save lives.
Delaware County residents now have access to secure medication drop boxes to dispose of unused, unwanted or expired prescription drugs that can be lethal when they fall into the wrong hands.
The large, metal “Delco Medicine Drop” boxes are being installed in nine police departments at various locations in the county through the continuing efforts of Delaware County Council, the District Attorney and the Delaware County Heroin Task Force.
The Delco Medicine Drop boxes were unveiled Tuesday, Oct. 8, at the Delaware County Government Center, where a 10th drop box is installed in the lobby near the security desk.
People can safely dispose of prescription medications, particularly dangerous narcotics, and be reassured that no one will steal them out of their medicine chest, and that they will be disposed of properly without harming the water supply. The medicines can be dropped into the boxes anonymously, for free, at any time during the year at the ten locations.
“Getting one bottle of unused Oxycontin off the street can save one young person from addiction. Each of us can now do our part to prevent drug abuse by cleaning out our medicine cabinets and disposing of dangerous medications,” said County Councilman Dave White, a member of the Heroin Task Force.
“Since forming the Heroin Task Force in September 2012, we’ve learned a lot about the drugs that lead to heroin use, particularly opioid pain relievers. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has classified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic and these drop boxes are one way that we can reduce the impact of this deadly epidemic on our families and communities,” White said.
Studies show that residential supplies of pharmaceutical controlled substances – those found in home medicine cabinets – are the supply of choice to young people and criminals. These medications are effective when used properly, but many are highly addictive and dangerous when abused.
Some individuals who misuse prescription medications, particularly teenagers, believe these substances are safer than illicit drugs because they are prescribed by a doctor or dentist, and dispensed by a pharmacist. Commonly abused medications include pain relievers such as Oxycontin and Percocet, barbiturates and sleep medications, codeine and morphine.
The environment is also threatened by medications being flushed down toilets and discharged into the ground water supply.
Twice a year, Delaware County has participated in the national Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). In 2012, 1,700 pounds of medications were collected during two Take-Back events in Delaware County. This year’s national Take-Back event is Oct. 26.
But residents kept asking how to dispose of prescription drugs right away. Medicine Drop Boxes are the key to getting them out of homes and off the streets quickly and safety.
“We know that these prescription drugs are the target of theft and misuse. Statistics tell us that kids who use drugs say they start by taking a prescription drug non-medically, and they get them from the medicine cabinets of their parents, their grandparents and friends,” White said. “We want to keep these drugs out of the wrong hands, especially young people. One way to accomplish this is to offer convenient, secure and environmentally safe drug disposal programs to decrease the supply of unused prescription drugs in the home.”
The Delco Medicine Drop boxes will be installed at the following police departments: Darby Township, Haverford, Marple, Radnor, Ridley Township, Springfield, Tinicum, Upper Chichester and Upper Darby.
“These boxes will be bolted down and under the supervision of law enforcement. Members of the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division (CID) will handle the collection and safe disposal of the medications according to state and federal laws,” said District Attorney Jack Whelan.
Medications in standard containers can be deposited in those containers. Loose medication can be put in plastic bags. Liquid medications should be enclosed in secure containers.
At the unveiling of the drop boxes, Council and the District Attorney were joined by Marple Township Police Chief Thomas Murray, president of the Delaware County Police Chiefs Association, and law enforcement from the locations for the drop boxes.
In addition to being a safe disposal container, the drop boxes also feature drug prevention information in bold, colorful print on the boxes. For example: “One in five high school students have abused prescription drugs.”