Pill drop program takes to the county

Published 2:56 pm Saturday, June 26, 2010

The county’s new prescription pill drop box, which is designed to give people an easy and safe place to dispose of unused medications, is going on the road — sort of.

Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi and Chief Deputy Mark May will soon be making a number of stops in smaller communities in the area to talk about the program and to give people a chance to drop-off old pills.

Amazi said she already made a similar visit in LeRoy on June 15, when she stopped by during a seniors’ lunch. The sheriff said roughly 15 pounds of unused medications were dropped off for disposal.

Next on the agenda are the following stops:

June 29 at the Rose Creek City Hall. 6 to 8 p.m.

July 10 at the Sargeant City Hall. 8 to 10 a.m.

July 17 at the Adams City Hall. 8 to 10 a.m.

July 24 at the LeRoy City Hall. 9 to 11 a.m.

July 31 at the Lyle City Hall. 8 to 10 a.m.

Aug. 7 at the Brownsdale City Hall. 8 to 10 a.m.

Aug. 22 at the Waltham City Hall. 9 to 11 a.m.

Amazi said each stop will allow citizens to bring in old pills and to ask any questions they may have about the program or about proper medication disposal in general.

The Mower County drop-box, located in the lobby of the Law Enforcement Center in downtown Austin, officially opened to the public on May 18. The box, which deposits into a storage case in the sheriff’s office, allows residents an anonymous way to drop off pills that might be storing up at home. For people especially worried about confidentiality, brown envelopes and Sharpie markers for crossing out labels are located near the box.

To date, Amazi said she’s had to empty the box about six times so far, gathering well over 100 pounds of old pills in the process.

When the box is emptied, the drugs go to a larger storage bin. After that bin fills up, the drugs will be transported to the nearest approved incinerator, which is located in Illinois. Amazi said a trip to the incinerator hasn’t happened yet, but noted that one would come “soon.”

Overall, the sheriff said the program has been very effective at getting unused prescriptions out of homes — and away from people who shouldn’t be using them.

“It’s exceeding expectations,” Amazi said about the drop-box.

The sheriff is still trying to set up stops in Grand Meadow, Elkton and Racine. Those visits would likely be in August or early September.