KINGSTON TWP. — Three area police departments are offering prescription drug drop off points for National Drug Take Back Day on April 30.
National Drug Take Back Day is a federal program held twice a year that provides residents an opportunity to anonymously drop off unused medications for safe disposal, said John W. Fuches, the DARE officer at the Kingston Township Police Department.
This year, the event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 30, with drop-off sites at the Kingston Township Police Department, Hanover Township Police Department and Plains Township Police Department.
As residents are cleaning out closets, cupboards and toy boxes for the spring, medicine cabinets should not be overlooked. Old or unused prescriptions pose a danger of accident consumption or abuse, Fuches said.
“The number one type of drug abuse is prescription drugs,” he said. “Prescription drug abuse can be a gateway to heroin use. I have seen it.”
Residents can turn in medications in pill or patch forms at any of the three drop-off locations, Fuches said. “No questions asked.”
The prescriptions are packaged and secured until the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration picks up the boxes later in the day, he said.
When Kingston Township held the event in September, “we received between 300 to 400 pounds of medication,” Fuches said.
Plains Township and Hanover Township police departments were unable to provide the amounts they collected before publication deadline.
Nationally, over 702,000 pounds of prescription drugs were collected at more than 5,000 sites, according to a DEA news release.
Liquid medications and syringes are not accepted and must be disposed of differently,” Fuches said.
Frank Lombardo, the owner of Cook’s Pharmacy in Shavertown, suggests liquid medications be mixed with “an undesirable substance” such as coffee grounds or cat litter and then thrown in the trash.
In cases where a family needs to discard syringes, Lombardo suggests relatives call the doctor who issued the prescription.
“Doctors have a service that will pick up needles,” he said.
Area law enforcement felt the twice-a-year National Drug Take Back Day was not enough for families to consistently rid their households of unused drugs.
In February, the Back Mountain Police Association, which includes 21 municipalities from the Back Mountain and Wyoming Valley, purchased a permanent Prescription Drug Drop Box for the public to use to discard unwanted medications.
The death of a family member is one situation in which a family is faced with discarding unused prescription drugs, Fuches said.
“Instead of holding on to it until the next Drug Take Back Day, they can drop it off here,” he said. “We have the first permanent drug drop off box in the region.”
The receptacle is located in the foyer of the lower level of the Kingston Township Municipal Building. The metal box is bolted to the floor. It is designed similar to a mailbox that once a deposit is made it can not be retrieved.
“We check it daily,” Fuches said. “Medications are boxed up according to DEA requirements, stored in the evidence room and turned into the DEA during National Drug Take Back Day.”
Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.