The North Ridgeville Police Department has just the solution for residents who have leftover prescriptions and unwanted syringes. Two drop boxes have been installed in the lobby of the police department, one for syringes and the other for pill bottles.
Police Chief Mike Freeman said the drop boxes will help to safeguard the environment by keeping pills out of the water supply and out of the reach of addicts. Syringes won’t be discarded in garbage containers either.
“Don’t you wish you had a place to take those unwanted prescription medications that litter your household, or the home of a loved one, so they do not end up in the hands of someone who doesn’t need them?” Freeman asked. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have an alternative method of disposal that does not include flushing medicines down the toilet, or placing used syringes in your weekly garbage? If you live in North Ridgeville or a surrounding community, you now have a place to drop off these items with the assurance that they will not fall into hands of others and will be disposed of in a proper manner.”
Syringes pose a threat when placed in garbage containers because people handling trash could be pricked with the needle, which is particularly dangerous if the syringe has been used.
According to Freeman, the prescription box initiative is the result of concerned Avon resident, Andy Monda, who approached Mayor Dave Gillock and EMH Healthcare President Dr. Don Sheldon. Both wholeheartedly embraced the idea and saw it as a plus for the community.
Monda, who is on the Avon Senior Center’s Health and Welfare Committee, said he realized many seniors and others have leftover and unused prescriptions as the result of changes in medications or finding out they were allergic to medications they were initially prescribed. Although communities in Lorain County hold prescription drop-off days at police departments several times a year, he felt it would benefit the community if people could drop off items any time of the year, 24 hours a day.
“We thought it would be a good idea if something could be done on a more permanent basis,” Monda explained.
According to Communities that Care (CTC), a countywide coalition working to prevent underage substance abuse, pills are the most widely abused drug by teenagers, along with alcohol and marijuana.
Catherine Gabe, coordinator of CTC, said prescription drug abuse is a growing problem throughout the state. CTC partners with the Lorain County Drug Taskforce’s “Operation Medicine Cabinet,” which takes unwanted drugs from people several times a year.
“Alcohol is the most commonly abused drug, but we’ve noticed that prescription abuse is gowing up,” she said. “A lot of these kids end up getting the medications from family and friends. We are encouraging parents to keep all of their medications in a locked safe place.”
The two drop boxes in North Ridgeville are secured to the east wall of the police station lobby, which is located at 7307 Avon Belden Road.
“You do not need to make an appointment. You do not need to make contact with anyone. There is no fee and no paperwork is required,” Freeman explained. “Just drop and go.”
Unwanted medications are incinerated, Monda said, which the Environmental Protection Agency feels is safer than ground water contamination that occurs when pills are flushed down the toilet.
Monda worked in conjunction with the North Ridgeville Police Department to obtain funding from EMH Healthcare, who purchased the drop boxes on the city’s behalf.
“I want to give a special thanks to Andy Monda for not only realizing a city need, but supplying and working toward a viable solution,” Freeman said. “I also want to make my appreciation known to EMH Healthcare, especially Dr. Don Sheldon, for securing the funding and purchasing of the needed material.”
SIDEBAR: Warning signs of prescription drug abuse
Catherine Gabe, coordinator of Communities that Care, said parents need to not only keep an inventory of medications, but also be aware of certain behaviors that may indicate prescription drug abuse. Those include:
-Drowsiness or inability to concentrate, sickness and fatigue, loss of coordination
-personality changes, mood swings, irratibility or excessive energy
-behavior changes, secretiveness, hiding things, loss of interest in friends
-borrowing money or having extra money
pic cutline: These two boxes were recently mounted on the wall in the lobby of the North Ridgeville Police Department. The one on the left is for syringes and the one on the right is for prescription pill bottles.