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Editorial: Use of drop box a good next step in fighting drug abuse

Nov. 23, 2012 @ 11:56 PM

One of the key strategies in combating prescription drug abuse is taking the drugs out of circulation when they are not needed by their legitimate users. Now there is a new tool in Huntington to assist in that effort.

The front lobby of the Huntington Police Department at 675 10th St. now sports what looks like a streetside postal receptacle, but it has a much different purpose. People who have unwanted or expired prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications can dispose of them by dropping by and placing them in the new drop box. The drop box is accessible for the public when the department lobby is open, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The box was installed due to a collaborative effort of the police department and the Cabell County Substance Abuse Prevention Partnership, or CCSAPP, a local coalition aimed at preventing drug and alcohol abuse.

The decision to place the drop box where people can conveniently dispose of prescription drugs is well-founded. Both the police department and CCSAPP have taken part in operating the drug take back days in recent years, and they're fully aware of the response those have received. For example, more than 3,700 pounds of unwanted prescription drugs were turned in across West Virginia during last year's national drug take back day.

But those events occur just a few days a year at most, and CCSAPP officials note that they frequently receive calls from people asking when the next take back day will be. Making a drop box available to the public in a safe and secure location on a regular basis provides much more opportunity for the medications to be disposed of properly.

That will help reduce the availability of drugs for diversion to illegitimate uses, and allow residents who might otherwise become targets of drug abusers to feel safer.

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