COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine recently announced a new initiative to give law enforcement agencies in Ohio new tools to help fight prescription drug abuse.
The Attorney General’s Office is partnering with the Ohio Department of Health and the Drug Free Action Alliance to invite southern Ohio’s law enforcement agencies to participate in the newly established Ohio Prescription Drug Drop Box Program. The pilot program will provide approximately 75 drop boxes to collect prescription drugs and at least three incinerators to destroy them.
Meigs and Gallia counties are both eligible for the pilot program.
“Even though the entire state is dealing with the problems associated with prescription drug addiction, southern Ohio is by far the epicenter of the abuse,” said DeWine. “By initially focusing our efforts in this area, we will not only help more people, but can also better monitor the success of the program.”
Beginning today, law enforcement agencies are eligible to apply for the pilot program, free of charge.
Counties eligible for the program include: Adams, Fayette, Jackson, Preble, Athens, Gallia, Lawrence, Ross, Brown, Greene, Meigs, Scioto, Butler, Hamilton, Montgomery, Vinton, Clermont, Highland, Pickaway, Warren, Clinton, Hocking, Pike and Washington.
“Instead of medication drop-off days just being available several times each year, these drop boxes will allow Ohioans to dispose of dangerous prescription drugs as soon as a person decides it is appropriate to do so,” said Dr. Ted Wymyslo, Director of the Ohio Department of Health. “We want to make it convenient to get these unused dangerous drugs out of the home, safeguarding the family and decreasing the possibility of the drugs being diverted or misused.”
The drop boxes are secure mailbox-style disposal boxes can be placed inside law enforcement departments where residents can walk in and deposit their unwanted, expired or unused prescription drugs. The portable drug incinerators will be provided to agencies that are able and willing to serve as a regional destruction site for the pills collected from other drug drop boxes in the area.
Proper and timely disposal of unused medication remains a serious issue in Ohio. In 2010, two-thirds of those who were prescribed prescription pain medication had medication left over from their last prescription. According to data from Ohio Department of Health, nearly seven out of 10 (69 percent) of Ohioans kept the leftover medication, while only three out of 10 (29 percent) disposed of it. The remaining two percent gave the medication to someone else or sold it.
“Drug Free Action Alliance is proud to partner on this program to give these counties a safe and trusted means to dispose of unused prescription medications,” said Marcie Seidel, Drug Free Action Alliance Executive Director. “By limiting the number of drugs that could possibly be stolen, misused or abused, we are potentially saving lives and creating true community change in regards to prescription drug abuse.”
The Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services is also supporting the pilot program through funding provided to the Drug Free Action Alliance. The drop boxes will be purchased from the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators.