D.A. applauds use of boxes to discard unused drugs

Residents also urged to observe DEA event on Saturday

By Kathleen Brady SheaManaging Editor, The Times

MedBoxPRMore than 350 pounds of medication have been collected for safe disposal from special receptacles across Chester County in the first three months of 2014, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan reported on Wednesday, April 23.

Prescription drug abuse in the U.S. is the fastest growing public health threat facing the nation, and the source of much of those controlled substances – especially by young people – continues to be family medicine cabinets. The collection boxes, installed at the end of 2013, allow for the safe disposal of unwanted prescription medications to reduce access to addictive drugs in an environmentally safe manner, Hogan said.

In addition to Chester County’s permanent collection boxes, on Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., many area departments are partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for its twice-yearly National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative.  Citizens can deposit unwanted prescription medication at designated locations such as police stations, supermarkets or drug stores. Even county police departments that host a permanent collection site are participating in Saturday’s event.

West Whiteland Township Police Chief Joseph Catov, whose drop box accounted for over 80 pounds of collected medication, said the program “is working exactly like it should.  The public is aware of the program and dropping off old prescription medication.  Every pill and tablet that we can dispose of safely is medication that can never be misused.”

State Rep. Becky Corbin, who helped start the  program to provide ongoing collections, said she was pleased with its initial reception. “I urge the residents of Chester County to keep up the effort.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to go through your medicine cabinet and collect unused prescription painkillers for proper disposal, please do so now,” she said.  “Let’s keep the momentum going.”

The permanent medication collection boxes are located in the Chester County Justice Center in West Chester and the following police departments:  North Coventry, Westtown-East Goshen, New Garden, Kennett Square, Parkesburg, West Goshen, West Whiteland, Phoenixville, Oxford, East Brandywine, West Vincent, Tredyffrin, West Brandywine, West Caln, Caln, Coatesville, and Valley.

Citizens can anonymously dispose of their medications in the boxes, which are designed like mailboxes.  The medication disposal boxes also offer an environmentally safe, accessible, and convenient alternative to disposing of medication in the trash or sewer systems.

Hogan said he also appreciated the fact that citizens were utilizing the program. “The District Attorney’s Office would much rather prevent drug abuse before it starts instead of dealing with the pain, tragedy, and legal consequences of drug addiction after it has taken hold of our young people,” he said.  “Everybody who participates in this program, from the police to the local politicians who supported the program, deserves a round of applause.  But our job is just starting.”

For more information on the event and other collection sites, visit the DEA web site http://www.justice.gov/dea/index.shtml.

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