By Jeff Gallatin
Westshore police believe they have the right prescription for disposing of old prescribed medications.
Officials from the Westshore Enforcement Bureau narcotics task force, as well as the cities of Bay Village, Fairview Park, Lakewood, North Olmsted, Rocky River and Westlake, have installed old-prescription drug drop boxes at the police stations in those cities. The boxes allow citizens to drop off unwanted and expired old prescription drugs. Police officials will collect the old medications from the boxes and then have them disposed of.
Jeff Capretto of the WEB unit worked with the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators in obtaining a grant to purchase the boxes for the six Westshore police departments. The boxes were installed earlier this month at each station.
Area officials said the boxes are a good idea.
“It’s a great way for people to dispose of old drugs in a safe manner,” North Olmsted police Chief Jamie Gallagher said. “It makes it easier for citizens to go to a police station than having to try and do it themselves or find some other way of getting rid of old prescription drugs, which can be a problem if not dealt with properly.”
Westlake police Capt. Guy Turner said having them located in or right by the police stations is ideal.
‘It’s a safe, secure environment, where people can drop them and know they’re not going to have a problem, and they will be going to professionals who can dispose of them in a proper manner,” he said.
Dave Salmi, head pharmacist at the Bay Village Walgreens, endorsed the new program when informed of it.
“It’s a great idea and plan for handling old drugs and prescriptions,” he said. “First, it means people aren’t doing it themselves, which means they’re not flushing them down the toilet and putting them in the water and and sewer systems, where they can cause problems for all of us,” he said. “It also means that the drugs themselves aren’t being left in the medicine cabinet themselves or anywhere else in a home that people can access. It means there won’t be an accidental overdose if a child or someone else gets the drugs.”
Salmi said not having the drugs in the house also cuts the opportunity for potential future illegal use of them.
“Drug abusers will think of ways to find and get a hold of them in ways that you and I would never think of,” he said. “If the drugs are not in people’s residences anymore, then these people can’t break in and get at them.”
With the boxes, the police departments cannot accept needles or liquids, but all other forms of prescription medications can be accepted. The departments ask that the labels on the bottles be removed or names of persons on the labels be marked out.
For any other questions, contact your local police agency. For a listing of all agencies with a prescription drop box, go to www.rxdrugdropbox.org.