Drop box at police station offers a way to dispose of old medications | News | The Press and Standard

by | February 9, 2018 5:00 am

Last Updated: February 6, 2018 at 2:35 pm

The Walterboro Police Department saw a community need and was looking for a way to address it when the solution arrived in an email.
Corporal Amye Stivender, the police department’s public information officer, explained that often a resident would visit the police headquarters in search of a method to dispose of old prescription medications.
“Obviously people don’t want to just flush them, don’t want to toss them in the trash can and have someone get hold of them,” Stivender said.
She pointed out that most pharmacies don’t offer a system for disposal of old prescription medications — a few do it but charge for the service.
One possible, but problematic, solution was having the department accept the no longer needed prescription medication and keeping it in the property room for eventual disposal.
But mingling the old prescription medications with items seized as evidence presented problems. Items kept in the property room involve paperwork and strict guidelines assuring the chain of custody for any pending criminal chases.
“We have actually been looking into this for quite a while,” Stivender said. “This was something the chief was very adamant about getting. Now, we have got it.”
In December, the police department received an email from the Lowcountry Area Agency on Aging.
The area agency was working with the Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging to offer a grant to law enforcement agencies that would cover the cost to secure the drug take-back box.
That funding would be available to one law enforcement agency in each county.
“We were already looking for funding. It was a perfect fit for us,” Stivender said.
They were awarded the grant and ordered a secure container that met the specifications the grant application required. The grant paid 100 percent of the container’s $638 cost.
The public service is available to both city residents and those who live outside Walterboro.
The secure container arrived early last week and the city police department immediately put it to work, installing the drug take-back box in the lobby of the police department.
Stivender said the box operates like a financial institution’s after-hours depository or the after-hours book depository at Colleton Memorial Library.
A visitor opens the top and drops the prescription medication in, and when the door closes, the medication falls into a locked area at the bottom of the container.
Now those residents who want to rid themselves of unneeded prescription medications can walk into the lobby during regular business hours, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and drop them off.
Stivender said, “We encourage people to come bring old medication and drop it off. You don’t have to talk to anyone, and there is no paperwork.”
After weekday business hours and on the weekend when the doors to the lobby are locked, those seeking to deposit the medication can pick up the telephone at the door and ask for an officer to provide them access to the lobby.
The medication being discarded must be in a prescription bottle, some other type of plastic container or in a bag. “We don’t want loose pills rolling around.”
The collected medication, Stivender said, will be disposed of the same way much of the no-longer needed evidence is destroyed.
“We take it to SLED and use their incinerator,” Stivender said.

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