Drop-off boxes net a ton of unwanted drugs in 2012

More than 2,000 pounds of pharmaceutical waste was collected in Huntington County during 2012, an increase of almost 40 percent over previous years, says Jonathan Leist, director of the Huntington County Solid Waste Management District.

Leist attributes the increase to the district's purchase of five permanent drug drop-off boxes, which was funded by LACE (Local Anti-drug Coalition Efforts). The drop-off boxes have been placed outside police stations in Huntington, Markle, Warren, Andrews and Roanoke, as well as at the Huntington County Jail.

Last year was the first full year the permanent drop-off boxes were available to Huntington County residents.

Five to 10 percent of the drugs dropped off are controlled substances, often narcotics commonly abused by drug abusers, Leist says. About 200 pounds of those drugs were taken off the streets last year, Leist says.

"Hopefully, we will see these numbers continue to grow as more residents realize they have a convenient method to dispose of these problem wastes," he says.

The drop-off sites are monitored by law enforcement officers. The collected drugs are sent to Indianapolis for disposal through high temperature incineration.

LACE is made up of representatives from law enforcement, probation, Huntington County Community Schools, mental health agencies, concerned parents, local government and social service agencies. Its primary purpose is to provide education and preventive services relating to drug, alcohol and other substances abuse in Huntington County.

To learn more about the pharmaceutical waste collection program, contact the Huntington County Solid Waste Management District at 358-4886. To learn more about LACE contact Andrew Norman at 574-551-2205 or visit the website at huntingtonlace.com.