Permanent Prescription Drug Dropoff Box To Be Stationed At Police Department

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As part of a national initiative, the Athens Police Department will set up a new dropoff point for unwanted prescriptions on Saturday.

Outdated and unused prescription drugs will be accepted at the department, 11 N. College St., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to a news release by Chief Tom Pyle.

Officers will be in front of the building with a container to accept the medications, with no questions asked about prescription ownership or inventory. The prescriptions will then be disposed of properly, as opposed to ending up in a landfill or in the water systems.

"The biggest benefit is that they (citizens) will have a legal and environmentally-friendly way of disposing of the drugs," said Capt. Ralph Harvey, of the police department.

With the prescriptions out of reach of young children, there is less risk of accidental ingestion. The dropoff also avoids the likelihood of the drugs getting into the hands of individuals who might abuse or sell the drugs.

"Pharmaceutical drugs can just as dangerous as street drugs when taken without a prescription of doctor's supervision," Pyle wrote in the news release. "The majority of teenagers abusing prescription drugs get them from family and friends — and the home medicine cabinet."

The program is being conducted in conjunction with the national Drug Enforcement Administration's "Taking Back Unwanted Prescription Drugs" initiative. The location is registered with the administration and the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

But even when the dropoff event is over on Saturday, a locked metal dropbox will be placed in the lobby of the police department so anyone can drop off medications at any time.

"We are one of the few 24-hour operations that have a lobby that can be secured," Harvey said.

Items that will be accepted through the drop off program are prescriptions, prescription patches, prescription ointments, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, medical samples and medications for pets.

The department is not accepting aerosol cans, inhalers, hydrogen peroxide, needles (sharps), thermometers, non-medical ointments or medications from private business offices, such as a clinic.