Prescription drug abuse is on the rise in Pennsylvania, and Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty is doing something about it. He has arranged for the installation of three secure PA MedReturn drop boxes that will allow people to dispose of unused and expired prescription and over-the-counter medication safely and anonymously.
“The best way to avoid the risk of prescription drug abuse, especially for children and teenagers, is to safely dispose of medications when they are unused or expired,” Dougherty said.
“These PA MedReturn drop boxes offer the public a safe, accessible and convenient alternative to keeping prescription drugs that aren’t being used in the home, where they can get in the wrong hands or be disposed of in landfills or down the drain, where they can end up in the water supply.”
[PHOTO: Announcing the placement of three secure medicine-return boxes in Indiana County on Monday were, from left, Patrick Dougherty, Indiana County district attorney; Indiana Borough Police Chief William Sutton; Chief Michael Allman, Blairsville Borough police; Sam Clutter, director of public safety at Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Joni Schawager, executive director, Staunton Farms Foundation; and Carrie Bence, Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission. (Jamie Empfield/Gazette photo)]
Two of the PA MedReturn boxes were awarded to the Indiana County District Attorney’s office through a grant program made possible by a partnership between the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association, the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and delinquency as part of Gov. Tom Corbett’s Healthy Pennsylvania initiative.
The third box was purchased with money received from a grant through the Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug & Alcohol Commission.
“Governor Corbett’s Healthy PA initiative focuses on ensuring safe and appropriate access to prescription medications,” said Gary Tennis, secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. “Our goal in creating this program is to provide education opportunities for the public while reducing drug abuse and dependency.”
Prescription drug abuse is the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem and has been classified as an epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In recent years, according to officials at Dougherty’s office, district attorneys across Pennsylvania have seen an increase in teenage “pill parties,” driving under the influence and a dramatic increase in the use of heroin, all related to prescription drug addiction.
PA MedReturn collection boxes are located at various sites throughout Indiana County.
The boxes will accept the following: prescription and over-the-counter solid medications (tablets and capsules); liquid medications, inhalers, creams and ointments and nasal sprays; and pet medications.
The boxes will not accept intravenous solutions, injectables and needles.
MedReturn boxes are located at the Indiana Borough Police Department, 80 N. Eight St., Indiana; the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Police Department, 850 Maple St., Indiana; and the Blairsville Borough Police Department, 201 E. Market St., Blairsville.
Additional information about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and how to get help for yourself or a loved one is available at www.ddap.pa.gov.