Permanent drug drop-off sites doing job well taking target drugs off street

In 2011 LACE awarded the Huntington County Solid Waste District with a grant to purchase five permanent drug drop-off boxes for residents to dispose of unwanted pharmaceutical waste.

The drop boxes were put outside law enforcement offices in Huntington (city building and county jail), Markle, Warren, Andrews and Roanoke to increase program accessibility to Huntington County residents.

Last year, the first full program year for the permanent sites funded by LACE, the agencies collected over 2,000 pounds of total pharmaceutical waste, an increase of almost 40 percent over previous years.

Law enforcement officers at each site monitor drop-offs and remove the waste drugs from the containers and they are then sent for final disposal at Covanta Energy's waste to energy incinerator in Indianapolis.

High temperature incineration is currently the preferred waste disposal method for pharmaceutical wastes according to the U.S. EPA.

Approximately five to 10 percent of the pharmaceuticals dropped-off at the sites are controlled substances, often Schedule 1 narcotics commonly abused by drug users.

The drug drop-off program, in its first full year of operation, was responsible for the removal of approximately 200 pounds of controlled substance off of the streets, preventing them from being abused.

"Hopefully, we will see these numbers continue to grow as more residents realize they have a convenient method to dispose of these problem wastes," stated Huntington County SWMD Director Jonathan Leist.

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 huntingtonlace.com.