Greencastle and Putnam County residents will have another opportunity to help deter prescription drug abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused or unwanted medications.
On Saturday, April 28, the Greencastle Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will stage the third in a series of Drug Take Back Program efforts.
The program allows local residents to bring their medications for disposal to Greencastle High School at 910 E. Washington St. The service is free and anonymous.
A drive-through drop-off station will be set up at the front entrance to the school, in the parking area nearest the GHS office, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Entrance to the drop site can be made from Washington Street or Percy Julian Drive. Signage in both locations will direct traffic to the proper location.
GPD Chief Tom Sutherlin said the local effort last fall resulted in 88 vehicles driving through to dispose of 277 pounds of unwanted medications. Last spring the four-hour collection period saw 62 vehicles come through with 171 pounds of medication collected.
"It's no-questions-asked," Sutherlin said. "We don't ask your name. We don't take your license plate number."
The program is conducted at no cost to the city other than GPD officers' time, he said.
All drugs collected -- over-the-counter pills or prescription medications, including even controlled substances -- are boxed and turned over to the DEA for proper disposal.
That not only keeps them from getting into the wrong hands but also prevents the drugs from winding up in the environment.
It is no longer considered safe or proper to dispose of prescription medications by flushing them down the toilet or even mixing them with coffee grounds and putting them in the trash, Sutherlin said.
The Drug Take Back initiative addresses a public safety and public health issue. Authorities say medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to such drugs.
Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.