Cumberland Times-News

October 8, 2012

Disposal plan

Police will get rid of unwanted medications

Cumberland Times-News

—  Instead of flushing old or unwanted prescription drugs down the toilet or tossing them into the garbage can, Allegany County residents now have a much better, and safer, alternative.

The Maryland State Police barrack in LaVale and Frostburg Police Department are accepting unwanted prescription drugs 24 hours a day. Additionally, the Allegany County Sheriff’s Department will take the drugs weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

How to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs has long been a community problem. The issue  was raised during a community-wide health needs assessment in the county conducted by the Western Maryland Health System and the Allegany County Health Department.

Substance abuse was the No. 5 priority identified in the assessment, so the coalition developed objectives to reduce drug-induced deaths and alcohol-related crashes. One goal is to decrease the number of unused, unwanted or expired medications in the community.

A Community Health Resource Commission grant through the health department was used to fund the drop boxes, which are available at Frostburg and Cumberland police departments, Maryland State Police barrack in LaVale and the county sheriff’s office.

“Prescription drugs have been a big issue in our community, and there have not been any permanent ways for people to get rid of unwanted, unused, or expired medications. Consequently ... people keep them in their cabinets where they’re accessible to people who shouldn’t get them,” said Dr. Sue Raver, county health officer.

There’s a better way now, thanks to this collaborative effort by health care providers and law enforcement agencies.