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Published Tue, Feb 05, 2013 08:00 PM
Modified Mon, Feb 04, 2013 04:00 PM

Drug disposal box collects more than 140 pounds of pills

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- ajames@newsobserver.com

CLAYTON -- Old medications that fill drawers, and line medicine cabinets may seem appropriate to store for the future, in case of emergency. But, the drugs could lead to addiction, or be swallowed by a child or grandchild, causing harm.

That’s why the Clayton Police Department installed a drug disposal box at its office at 315 East Second St. Since starting the program on July 1, the department has collected approximately 141 pounds of assorted medications.

“Although legally prescribed drugs serve a useful medical purpose, they can be deadly if they get into the wrong hands and are misused,” said police Chief Glen B. Allen. “Cleaning out medicine cabinets and safely disposing of old prescription and over-the-counter drugs can save lives.” Allen said he is pleased with the popularity of the drop box.

There are no questions asked, and no paper work to fill out at the drop box. There is a five-gallon tote bag inside the drop box. On several occasions, the tote has been emptied on a Monday morning and found to have over-flowed again in less than four days. Residents from other towns have also used the box.

“We continue to receive calls from residents outside of Clayton wishing to use our program and we welcome that,” said Stacy Beard, spokeswoman for the town of Clayton.

The types of drugs that people have dropped off include common over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen and Nyquil as well as Ben-Gay cream, vitamins, suppositories, and caffeine pills. There are also controlled substances. The most frequently surrendered controlled substances include Alphamethadol, Codeine, Hydrocodone, Morphine, Oxycodone, Ketamine, Testosterone, Alprozolam, Clonazepam, Prozac, Valium, Ritalin, among thousands of other pills.

The disposal box is intended to make the community safer, and to protect the environment. “It is also much better for our environment to use the drop box rather than to toss old medicines into the trash or down the drain,” said Allen. “It is harmful for certain medicines to get into the water supply.”

The only items that can’t be dropped in the box include syringes and liquids.

The Clayton Rotary Clubs paid for the box. It is available for drop-off, no questions asked, during businesses hours Monday through Sunday at the police station from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

James: 919-553-7234

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