By Linda Collins
For Greene County News
ENON — The Enon Police Department prescription drug drop-off program has proven to be a big success in the community, according to Enon Police Chief Lewis Wilcox.
Wilcox said the permanent mailbox-style disposal bin, which is located in the lobby of the Enon Government Center, allows village and township residents to dispose of their unused, unwanted, or expired prescription medications anonymously in a safe environment. According to the police chief, the drop-off box is bolted to the floor and closely monitored by village personnel.
“This is a free service to the community, and we encourage all residents to participate in this program,” Wilcox said.
Wilcox added that the program is very beneficial to the environment because the unused medications can contaminate the water supply if they are not discarded properly.
“These medications are a public safety risk that can lead to overdoses, accidental poisoning, and drug abuse,” Wilcox said. “Do not throw any prescription pills into a household garbage container or flush them down the toilet.”
In 2012, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office partnered with the Ohio Department of Health and the Drug Free Action Alliance to provide free collection bins to local law enforcement agencies in Ohio.
Citizens disposing pounds of unwanted prescriptions during a drug drop-off event at the township fire and EMS department in 2012 led local law enforcement to establish a permanent drug drop-off location in the village. The Enon Police Department officially launched its prescription drug drop-off program in 2013.
“The drug drop-off box was obtained from the office of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, with the assistance of Clark County Prosecuting Attorney Andy Wilson,” Wilcox said.
He also provided a month-by-month account of the prescription medications collected in 2016. No medications were collected in January, February, April and July. However, citizens dropped off 25.02 pounds in March, 9.58 pounds in May, 5.86 pounds in June, 8.14 pounds in August, 6.519 pounds in September, 3.77 pounds in October, 6.8 pounds in November and one pound in December.
“People dropped off a total of 66.689 pounds during 2016. This amount consisted of just the pills and didn’t include pill bottles or packaging,” Wilcox said.
He said the police department has collected 7.28 pounds of prescription drugs during the first two weeks of January 2017.
According to a report by the Ohio Department of Health in 2016, drug overdoses exceeded car accidents as the number 1 cause of death in Ohio, and many abusers obtain the prescription medications at home. The report also said that opioids were the driving factor behind unintentional drug overdoses in Ohio.
“Collecting these drugs is a small inconvenience compared to our efforts of getting all drugs off the streets,” Wilcox said.
Village and township residents can drop off any unwanted prescription medications in the lobby of the Enon Government Center, 363 E. Main St. The government center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The police department is asking residents to have the prescription medications for disposal in a securely closed container. No liquid medications, salves, or needles are accepted.
Linda Collins is a freelance reporter for Greene County News.