Each year, communities across the country offer to collect residents’ unused medications as part of the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Initiative, sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Four years ago, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the Department of Aging & Human Services, started a door-to-door medication collection for homebound residents.
The Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Aging & Human Services had recognized that, while many residents are able to take advantage of the convenient 24/7 medication drop boxes situated in the Sheriff’s Office lobby, there is a segment of county residents unable to access this service: the homebound. Persons who are homebound due to age or mobility issues, do not always have the proper means to dispose of their unused medications, creating a situation that can make them vulnerable criminal targets.
The collection of medications, both through the homebound pick-up and convenient drop boxes, benefits public safety by decreasing the supply of controlled dangerous substances available for misuse, abuse, diversion, and accidental ingestion. The disposal methods used by the Sheriff’s Office also protect the environment from potentially harmful contaminants by providing a proper, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved, means of disposal.
During the National Take-Back Initiative, held Saturday, April 29, Deputy First Class Josh Krum, assisted in collecting a total of 7,235 pills from homebound residents. Also, 15,918 pills totaling sixty pounds was collected during National Take Back day through the sheriff’s office drop boxes.
“This type of collaboration not only prevents medications from falling into the wrong hands, but it further serves to protect our elderly citizens from becoming targets of crime,” said Sheriff Tim Cameron. “We are thankful for our agency’s relationships with our partners, the Department of Aging & Human Services and the community.”
The take-back initiative is a coordinated effort across St. Mary’s County. It includes education about proper use and storage of medication; prescription drug monitoring programs; proper disposal of medication; and enforcement against offenders.
Since the drop boxes were installed, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office has collected well over one million pills.
Sheriff Cameron expresses his gratitude to citizens for recognizing the importance of properly disposing of unused medications and thanks residents for their exceptional participation in the initiative.