Medicine-disposal boxes coming to permanent area sites

Joint initiative will enable residents to avert risk unused prescriptions pose


In the past, residents’ best option for disposing of unwanted medication was to take advantage of the semi-annual collections, such as the one that Coatesville Police Sgt. Rodger Ollis helped organize in the city.

For years, government officials have seen mounting evidence that drug abuse often originates in home medicine cabinets – statistics that fueled the National Drug Take back Initiative, a semi-annual program sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that provides a safe opportunity for disposing of unwanted medication.

Chester County has taken that approach a step further, arguing that residents should not have to wait months to prevent abuse and protect the environment. Research has shown that removing such medication reduces access to addictive drugs for accidental or intentional misuse by individuals, especially children. The medication disposal boxes also offer an alternative to placing dangerous drugs in area trash or sewer systems.

Last month, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced that permanent boxes would be set up at 10 county sites; however, the closest to Coatesville were the East Brandywine and Parkesburg Police Departments. Now, in an effort to give Coatesville-area residents 24/7 – and more accessible – locations, the Brandywine Health Foundation, in partnership with Pennsylvania American Water, will be installing medication collection boxes at police departments in and around Coatesville.

On Feb. 6, representatives from both entities will join Hogan and police chiefs from Coatesville, Caln, West Caln, West Brandywine, and Valley at the Brandywine Health Foundation offices at 10 a.m. for a program that will highlight the initiative, funded through a grant from Pennsylvania American Water. The presentation will also include a question-and-answer period, officials said.

“By partnering with the Brandywine Health Foundation, Coatesville Youth Initiative, and the local police departments, we are able to provide a real community-wide benefit with these pharmaceutical drop boxes,” said Jim Gable, operations superintendent for Pennsylvania American Water’s Coatesville District. “We hope the public will take advantage of the collection boxes, which offer a convenient and environmentally safe way to dispose of unused or expired medications rather than flushing them down the toilet, where they would eventually end up in local waterways.”

Caln Township Police Chief Joseph G. Elias said the boxes would also help prevent abuse. “The availability of these drugs in the home has become a leading cause of accidental poisoning, and has led to the alarming rate of prescription drug abuse in recent years,” Elias said. “In many cases they have become gateway drugs for other illegal, highly addictive drugs such as heroin.”

The offices of the Brandywine Health Foundation and Coatesville Youth Initiative are located at 50 S. First Ave., Coatesville, 19320.


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