Program aims to curb misuse of prescription drugs
By Fran Odyniec
For The Madison Press
The Plain City Police Department wants to do something about a potential threat to you and your family’s health and safety that you may not be aware of.
Working in collaboration with the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI), the Plain City Police Department has introduced a program to help reduce the risk of prescription drugs from falling into the wrong hands.
The program uses a secure prescription drug drop box into which folks can easily deposit their unused or expired medications.
Resembling a large mail box, the drop box is conveniently located in the offices of the Plain City Police Department at 231 Friend St. It is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Chief of Police Jim Hill urges Plain City residents to feel free to come to the station and deposit unused or expired medications in the box.
“After your prescription has been filled and you don’t use up all of the medication, you don’t want what’s left sitting around for safety or health reasons,” Hill said. “Bring them in. We’ll accept pills and patches.”
“This can be done anonymously,” he said. “This is a way to safely dispose of medications.”
Medications that won’t be accepted are liquids and creams. Syringes and needles also cannot be accepted in the box.
The prescription drug drop box program is an effort to complement the semi-annual Drug Take Back Days sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration. A take-back day is scheduled for Saturday, April 27.
“This program is in conjunction with drug take-back days which are geared to one event,” Hill said. “Our program runs throughout the year, and can relieve concern and provide peace of mind that you don’t have these medications inside your home.”
Hill recommends removing prescription labels from the plastic pharmacy bottles, then placing the bottles in a plastic sandwich bag before bringing them to the station. He added that no questions will be asked of anyone.
“You can hand them to the officer on duty,” Hill explained, “or the officer will direct you to the box.”
According to NADDI, America’s 12-17 year olds have made prescription drugs the No. 1 substance of abuse for their age group. NADDI has found that much of their supply comes from the medicine cabinets of their parents, grandparents, and friends.
“You can become a target of individuals who know you have pain or prescription medications on hand,” Hill said of the common practice of storing those medications in the family medicine cabinet or in a kitchen cabinet over the sink.
He pointed out that in some cases a person will have no idea that anyone or a friend or acquaintance may have a drug addiction problem.
A guest’s simple request to use the bathroom may be all a person needs to head for the medicine cabinet. Or, in the case of a person desperate for drugs who breaks into a home, he or she will inevitably take the same route.
“They don’t pay attention to the prescription’s expiration date,” continued Hill. “They’ll either steal the drugs for themselves or sell them for money to buy drugs illegally.”
There is another risk that unused or expired drugs pose for a family. This one involves child’s play.
Small children have a tendency to find out what is behind a cabinet door, said Hill.
“That is yet another reason not to let those medications sit there,” he said. “Children should have no access to those medications.”
To safeguard medications that are currently being used, Hill advises that they be kept in a secure and not so obvious location in the house to “prevent temptations from arising.”
Regarding the family medicine cabinet, Hill adds, “You don’t know who accesses it. It could be a friend of a friend who is visiting who asks that simple question, ‘Can I use your bathroom?’ Somebody may have an addiction you’re not aware of.”
For more information on the Prescription Drug Drop Box program, contact the Plain City Police Department at (614) 873-2921.