Permanent drug disposal sites set

Sorting prescription drugs during Drug Drop Off Day on Saturday, May 30, at Hier's Park are (from left) Scott Haskett, Kenneth Field and Jonathan Leist, the latter the director of the Huntington County Solid Waste District.
Photo by Andre B. Laird.

Huntington County Coroner Leon Hurlburt says the recent Drug Drop Off Day was a big success.

The event was held on Saturday, May 30, at Hier's Park. Residents were offered the opportunity to drop off unused or unneeded prescription drugs.

"At the end of the day we collected over $200,000 worth of prescription drugs," states Hurlburt. "It was a busy and successful event."

Jonathon Leist, Solid Waste District director, says drugs were sorted into two categories, controlled and uncontrolled drugs.

"Uncontrolled or over-the-counter drugs will be disposed of by the Solid Waste District," Leist says. "The controlled or narcotics will be placed in the evidence room at the coroner's office for future disposal."

Hurlburt says the decision to hold the drugs was to save money.

"It used to cost about $1,000 for us to have someone come and collect the drugs for disposal," he states. "Now, we hold them until the truck is coming our way to pick them up."

He adds that one of the reasons why the event was planned was because of the increase in prescription drug abuse by teenagers. Teens substitute various easily accessible drugs for ones that are harder to acquire of buy.

"Friends' and family medicine cabinets are the major sources of these drugs," Hurlburt states. "More than 70 percent of people who abuse prescription painkillers say they get them from family and friends."

He adds that approximately 40 percent of high school seniors say that painkillers are fairly or very easy to get.

In a recent study conducted by The Partnership For a Drug Free America, the percentage of parents talking to their children about the dangers of prescription drugs is down six percent from a year ago.

The study also reported that there is a common misconception among parents that prescription or over-the-counter medications are safer than street drugs.

"Every day 2,500 teenagers ages 12 to 17 abuse a pain reliever for the first time," says Hurlburt. "It is important that parents talk to their children about both over-the-counter and prescription medications, as they are arguably the greatest danger to abuse in our high schools today."

Hurlburt adds that for those who missed the drop off day, there are still opportunities available to safely dispose of unwanted drugs.

"Two drop-off locations have been arranged and residents can drop their drugs off year-round," he says.

The first location is the Huntington County Jail/ Sheriff's Department, cin are of the coroner. Drugs can also be dropped of at the Health Department during regular business hours. The health Ddpartment is located at 354 N. Jefferson St. or call 358-4831.