New spot to drop unwanted pills

A local citizen demonstrates how easy it is to utilize the new medicine drop box located in the lobby of the Marion Police Department.

McDowell citizens will now have two spots to drop off unused, expired or unwanted prescription medication.

The Marion Police Department, through a grant from National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI), has installed a medicine drop box in the lobby of the police station, located at 270 South Main Street.

“I think it’s a well known fact, not only in Marion and North Carolina, but across the country, the abuse of prescription medications (can) lead to overdoses that sometimes result in deaths at every age range,” explained Marion’s Police Chief Allen Lawrence. “This is a way for us to provide a location for citizens to drop off their unwanted prescriptions, no questions asked.”

Lawrence said police will dispose of the medications properly in hopes to keep them out of the hands of those who would use them for the wrong reasons.

“Oftentimes throwing them away or putting them back into the water system by flushing them is not the best option,” he said. “Sometimes people keep them and sometimes they have grandchildren or someone else that could get a hold of them and that could be trouble.”

Lt. Rusty Jenkins said as a part of the grant program there are certain medications that they are not allowed to take, including over-the-counter drugs.

“We will not be accepting any types of liquids, sharps or needles. We strictly accept pill forms, including gel caps, just as long as there are no liquids or diabetic supplies, or extra equipment that comes with it” said Jenkins.

He added that businesses such as pharmacies are not allowed to dispose of any medications at the drop area. The department is under strict guidelines from NADDI and the DEA to make sure everything is carried out properly.

“We can only accept medications from private citizens,” Jenkins said.

MPD carries out Operation Medicine Drop twice a year. The program has been highly successful and yielded pounds of unwanted meds. Jenkins and Lawrence both said that the drop box will not take the place of those events.

“We will continue to have our medicine drops. Those are always held at populated locations where people are going to have to come to anyway,” said Jenkins. “It makes it a little easier on the public that can’t come to the police department.”

Jenkins said for those looking to get rid of liquids, there are proper disposal techniques they can carry out at home.

“If you have liquids or other medications that we can’t accept, you can mix them with certain things and throw them away in the trash,” he said. “You can put the liquid in a bag with used coffee grounds or kitty litter. Make sure the bag is sealed and it will absorb the toxins and the liquid, and just throw it away with your regular garbage. This is recommended by the FDA.”

Lawrence said he hopes this program will make a difference in decreasing prescription drug abuse in our area.

“Now it’s an opportunity to have two locations within the city limits of Marion, and for people to get rid of those medications. It’s a good thing.” he said. “They could be back here on the streets and sold illegally and taken for what they are not designed for.

MPD’s medicine drop box can only be utilized Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. There is also another drop box located in the lobby of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office.

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