CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's office has installed a permanent drug drop box in its lobby that is set to not only help residents keep their medicine cabinets clean but also keeping them safe. So, how do residents usually get rid of their unused medication?
"I mix them only with old coffee grounds and put them in the coffee ground container and throw them in the trash," said Lake Charles resident Patricia Hill.
"I throw mine in the trash," said another Lake Charles resident Barbara Johnson. "I put them in the garbage can so the kids can't get to them or anything like that."
The drop box is located at the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office Administration Building lobby on E. Broad St. The permanent drug box is available for the public to safely dispose unused, unwanted and expired medication all year round.
"Whether it be a death of a loved one and they have prescription meds that they need to get rid of or if they just want them out of their house," said Commander Matt Vezinot.
He says many 12-17-year-olds have made prescription drugs the number one substance of abuse for their age group. A fact Hill, whose also a former nurse, doesn't understand.
"They're grabbing blood pressure pills, heart pills, any kind of pills, looking for some kind of high today," said Hill. "I don't know why. It's horrible."
Vezinot says the disposal process, which law enforcement officials perform on a regular basis as a part of their regular operations, is also safe for the environment.
"There's been so much prescription medication flushed down the toilet, it's actually affecting our water supply," said Vezinot. "So, this is a way to protect the environment also."
The drop box is available 24/7 and most of the items the sheriff's office is seeing is mainly prescription drugs and over the counter medicines, but how do they make sure that biohazard materials and needles that may make their way to the box that aren't supposed to be there, don't fall into the wrong hands?
"That's why we put it here, someone's always here, it's a safe place, it's well lit, that's why it's here," said Vezinot.
Once law enforcement officials go through the medication to check for unwanted materials, they collect all the items and burn them.
The drop box program was provided through a grant from the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators.
CPSO recommends Individuals should remove any personal information from bottles or packages that contain pills/capsules and liquids before placing the bottles or packages into the drop box.
- Controlled substance medications (scheduled drugs)
- Non-controlled (Rx) substance medications
- Over the counter (OTC) medications
- Medication samples
- Syrups, ointments, creams and lotions
- Any sharps such as needles, syringes or lancets
- Any mercury or cadmium products such as thermometers & batteries
- Disposal medical waste items such as IV bags, used bandages, gowns or bio-hazardous items
- Aerosol cans
- Chemicals or disinfectants such as hydrogen peroxide
- Personal care products (non-medicated shampoo, etc.)
The drug drop box is provided through a grant from the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators.
This information will also be provided on the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office web site at www.cpso.com.