Greencastle, other county locations to Take Back drugs

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), prescription drug abuse is the fasted growing public health threat facing our nation. To combat this growing problem in communities throughout the country, the DEA held the first ever National Drug Take Back program in September 2010. That single day event led to the collection of more than 121 tons of pills by more than 3,000 state and local agencies. Another National Drug Take Back is planned this Saturday, April 30.

The Greencastle Police Department will be conducting the program from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Food Lion store, 500 N. Antrim Way.

According to the Franklin/Fulton Drug and Alcohol Program the abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise in Franklin and Fulton counties. Among the most commonly abused prescription drugs are narcotics, painkillers, mental health medications and over the counter items like cold medicines. There are also an increasing number of area residents seeking treatment for prescription drug abuse.

To encourage proper disposal of prescription drugs, area law enforcement agencies have begun taking action. In August 2010 the Greencastle Police Department hosted the area's first ever drug take back program, collecting nearly 400 pounds of chemicals. Additional chemicals were also collected by area law enforcement as part of the National Take Back in September 2010 and six area communities will be joining the DEA Take Back on April 30.

In addition to the Greencastle location, police in the following communities will be accepting drugs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.. at the following locations: Chambersburg, headquarters First Station, 130 N. Second St.; Mercersburg, Modnur Pharmacy, 52 Keefer Drive; Shippensburg,  Shippensburg Borough Police Department, 60 W. Burd St.; Waynesboro, Waynesboro Mall, by former Jubilee Food Store, 710 E. Main St.

In addition, the Pennsylvania State Police will be holding a Take Back in McConnellsburg at Magisterial District Court 39-4-02 at 214 N. Second St.

“Without the assistance of area police departments, these events would not be possible,” shared County Drug and Alcohol Prevention Specialist, Lauri Ryder. According to Ryder, pharmacies don't have the facilities to dispose of medications and legally, police are required to attend take backs. “It's a safety issue, having the police available when you are taking possession of a controlled substance. We want people to feel comfortable coming, but it must be done safely.”

Area residents can be assured that the take back procedure is simple and confidential. Pills, capsules, liquids and creams can all be brought for disposal. Liquid and cream products must be in closed containers, and residents brining these items are encouraged to remove the labels before coming to the collection site. No sharps or syringes will be accepted. The program is completely anonymous, there are no forms, or logs kept during the Take Back.

Proper disposal of medications, both prescription and over the counter are important. Disposal methods vary; flushing or dumping down the sink was once considered an option, the problem with this is that when this happens, chemicals are left to contaminate our groundwater, causing problems for humans and aquatic animals. Disposing of them in the trash leaves them accessible to children and pets and they still end up in our ground water. Finally, medications are often left for years in a medicine cabinet. This allows them to reach the hands of teenagers looking to experiment with drugs. The Take Backs, planned to happen at least twice annually, offer area residents the opportunity to dispose of medications, keeping them off of the streets and out of the environment.

“Kids are getting medications from medicine cabinets in their homes or in their grandparents' homes. The collections are done to keep unwanted and unused medications out of the hands of teens and off of the streets. People need to take responsibility for proper disposal of their medications, it will keep them off of the streets and help combat the problem in our community,” stated Ryder. “We are encouraging area residents to take five minutes to clean out their medicine cabinets and take any out dates, unused or unwanted medications to the drop offs. It can and does make a difference in our community.”