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Drop off expired meds anytime

PD offers drop box for drug take-back program

November 10, 2011
By J.T. Whitehouse
The Austintown Police Department has long been a local pioneer when it came to preventing prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse. In the past two years, the department has held anonymous drug take-back events, and is now gearing up to go 24-7 thanks to a special box obtained through the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators.

“People can bring old, expired, used prescription and over-the-counter medicine in 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Austintown Police Sgt. Jeff Toth.

The new collection box is one of 100 such boxes given out recently through the NADDI. The box is set up in the police station lobby and only Toth has the key to open it.

“In Ohio, only law enforcement officers, by law, can take back unwanted or expired prescription and OTC drugs,” Toth said.

He said drugs are treated as evidence and are recorded and marked for disposal by incineration. The key is in keeping it out of the landfills and waterways.

“It protects our water supply so we’re not drinking discarded drugs,” Toth said.

The box was obtained by making an application and being selected. The 100 boxes went to cities throughout the United States and according to Toth, is just the beginning.

“Look for more boxes in the near future,” he said.

As for Austintown’s record on drug take-back programs, it has been excellent. Since 2009, Austintown Police have provided 11 take-back events open to all Mahoning County residents. The results yielded 700 people bringing in medications. The department has taken in 413.6 pounds of prescription medicines, 212.7 pounds of over-the-counter drugs, and 441.4 pounds of liquids or lotions. There were 10,494 bottles, vials, and bags that were accepted and some recycled by the Green Team. The most recent take-back event was held Oct. 29 with 59 people dropping off 960 items.

To continue promoting the new drug box, Toth is working with the District Board of Health on a concept to place information sheets in prescription drug bags from Austintown pharmacies.

Article Photos

Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Austintown Police Sgt. Jeff Toth showcases the new drop box at the Austintown Police Department that allows people to drop off unused or expired medications anytime.



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