Prescription drop-off box aids in disposal of unused pills

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By Sharon Graves

The News-Democrat

The Carrollton Police Department will pattern a new program in July after a successful effort in Salt Lake City, Utah to help residents rid their homes of outdated or unused prescription medications safely.

The program will provide a box, similar to a Fed-Ex drop box that will be located in City Hall and people will be able to drop off out of date or unused prescriptions anonymously beginning in July, according to police chief Mike Willhoite.

The drop off box will be secured and accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Willhoite said. Individuals do not need to have medications in bottles, but they can put pills in plastic baggies and drop them at the box. 

“Pharmaceuticals are the number one drug of abusers in Carroll County right now and this will help in so many areas,” Willhoite said. “This might alleviate burglaries and break-ins by people looking for drugs.” 

“This is a worthy and proactive project,” Willhoite said.  

Willhoite has applied for a Justice Assistance Grant program to implement the effort, but said he will go forward with it even if he doesn’t receive that funding. CPD has received JAG funding in the past and used it most recently for the purchase of video cameras in patrol cars, Willhoite said.

Willhoite searched for a program on the internet along with Bob Douglas of the Kentucky Crime Prevention Coalition before finding the initiative used by the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s office.

“Prescription drug abuse is a major problem all across Kentucky and other states,” Douglas said. 

Officials used to tell people to flush out of date or unused drugs down the toilet, but now We have learned that doing so can contaminate the water supply, Douglas warned. 

Bringing out of date and unused medications to the new drop-off box will accomplish two things at once, Douglas said. “It will destroy drugs without harming the water and it gets drugs out of homes preventing abuse.”  Louisville is looking at starting something similar, Douglas added.