PDT Staff Writer
Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini has applied to the state for a Prescription Drug Drop Box and an incinerator to allow residents year-round access to a place where they can dispose of their unused prescription medications.
The Attorney General’s Office is partnering with the Ohio Department of Health and the Drug Free Action Alliance to invite southern Ohio’s law enforcement agencies to participate in the newly established Ohio Prescription Drug Drop Box Program. The pilot program will provide approximately 75 drop boxes to collect prescription drugs and at least three incinerators to destroy them.
“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.”
Donini said in the past, as chief law enforcement officer of Scioto County, one of the most difficult issues he has had to address is how a private individual or resident can safely dispose of expired or unwanted medicines.
“For the last couple of years, the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office has actively participated in two separate 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.”
Donini said there will be a Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, July 21 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Kroger’s, 9101 Ohio River Rd., in Wheelersburg, and 811 Gay St. in Portsmouth — sponsored by Kroger Grocery Stores, Cardinal Health, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office and the Portsmouth Police Department. Law enforcement will be asking the community to bring expired, unneeded and unused prescriptions, and over-the-counter medications (excluding liquids and gels) to either store. Donini had applied for the event and at approximately 9 a.m. Monday, received a telephone call from the DEA resident agent of Cincinnati, who advised him that the DEA had approved his letter of request.
“Even though the entire state is dealing with the problems associated with prescription drug addiction, southern Ohio is by far the epicenter of the abuse,” DeWine said. “By initially focusing our efforts in this area, we will not only help more people, but can also better monitor the success of the program.”
Beginning Monday, law enforcement agencies in Scioto, Pike, Adams, Jackson, Lawrence, Ross and others became eligible to apply for the pilot program, free of charge.
“Instead of medication drop off days just being available several times each year, these drop boxes will allow Ohioans to dispose of dangerous prescription drugs as soon as a person decides it is appropriate to do so,” Dr. Ted Wymyslo, Director of the Ohio Department of Health, said. “We want to make it convenient to get these unused dangerous drugs out of the home, safeguarding the family and decreasing the possibility of the drugs being diverted or misused.”
DeWine said the drop boxes are secure mailbox-style disposal boxes that can be placed inside law enforcement departments where residents can walk in and deposit their unwanted, expired or unused prescription drugs. The portable drug incinerators will be provided to agencies that are able and willing to serve as a regional destruction site for the pills collected from other drug drop boxes in the area. Proper and timely disposal of unused medication remains a serious issue in Ohio. In 2010, two-thirds of those who were prescribed prescription pain medication had medication left over from their last prescription. According to data from Ohio Department of Health, nearly seven out of 10 (69 percent) of Ohioans kept the leftover medication, while only three out of 10 (29 percent) disposed of it. The remaining two percent gave the medication to someone else or sold it.
“Drug Free Action Alliance is proud to partner on this program to give these counties a safe and trusted means to dispose of unused prescription medications,” Marcie Seidel, Drug Free Action Alliance Executive Director, said. “By limiting the number of drugs that could possibly be stolen, misused or abused, we are potentially saving lives and creating true community change in regards to prescription drug abuse.”
The Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services is also supporting the pilot program through funding provided to the Drug Free Action Alliance. The drop boxes will be purchased from the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org