The Harlan City Police, the Kentucky State Police and Operation UNITE (Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education) are offering a way for people to dispose of old prescription medication without adverse consequences. There is now a medication drop box on permanent duty at the Harlan City Police Department.
Dan Smoot, vice president of Operation UNITE, said this is a good option for disposing of unused and unwanted medications.
“In counties where they get the word out they’ve been very successful,” said Smoot.
Smoot said the goal is to have a drop box located in all 32 counties covered by Operation UNITE.
“I want everybody to know they should bring in their unwanted medicines because we don’t want them in the hands of the wrong people,” said Janet White, Harlan County UNITE Coalition secretary.
The drop box can be used for over-the-counter medication as well as prescription drugs.
Harlan City Police Chief Mike Thomas said the drop box is part of a continuing partnership between the Harlan Police Department, the Kentucky State Police and Operation UNITE.
“We want to keep those medicines from falling into the wrong hands,” said Thomas. “If you’ve got unused medications around, the wrong person could get it — a child could accidentally swallow it and overdose. We just don’t want that. This is the best way to dispose of medications. It will be disposed of properly instead of being flushed down the toilet or just thrown in the trash where it could possibly get into the water supply. This will be the safest and best way for everyone.”
According to Thomas, there will be 24-hour, seven-day a week access to the drop box.
“It will be here in the lobby of the police department,” said Thomas. “People can just come in and drop anything they need, no questions asked. We won’t be checking to see if it was illegal or anything like that. We just want it disposed of.”
Thomas said there are certain items that cannot be dropped into the box.
Bio-hazardous materials, needles, inhalers and aerosol containers cannot be disposed of in the drop box, he said.
KSP Post 10 Commander Leslie Smith pointed out his agency will still be providing opportunities to dispose of unwanted medication as well.
“We actually have a drop off scheduled for April 27 at the state police post,” said Smith. “People are certainly welcome to participate in that. But this is a more permanent option for people to take care of the medication issue.”
The time for the drop off at Post 10 is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Harlan County Coalition Coordinator for Operation UNITE Tom Vicini said there will be more drop boxes coming to Harlan.
“We will also be working with the regional prevention center out of Bell County to put a medication disposal box in the Harlan County Sheriff’s Office, probably later this month,” said Vicini.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510, ext. 113, email@example.com