ELKHART COUNTY – Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem and keeping them out of the hands of teens or drug abusers isn't easy.
But a group in Elkhart County has come up with a new way to get rid of old prescription drugs.
The Nappanee Police department is the first of several police agencies in Elkhart County to have one of these in their lobby.
It's a med return box, a place where people can drop off unused or expired prescription drugs on their own.
It’s a way to make sure they don't fall into the wrong hands.
The Elkhart County Drug-Free Partnership is organizing the effort.
“We wanted a way that anyone at any time could safely dispose of their unused medications, so these drug med boxes will be at police departments all over the county,” said Jessica Koscher of the Drug-Free Partnership.
It’s one way medications can be kept from being flushed down the drain where they can contaminate water supplies or end up in the hands of teens at so-called pharm parties.
It’s become a problem not only in Elkhart County, but nationwide of overdose and theft and misuse of these prescription drugs by teenagers,” said Nappanee Police Chief Julie Dijkstra.“What we find is that at these parties, they actually bring prescription drugs that they get from Grandma and Grandpa, and sometimes their parents. They use those to get high,” said County Undersheriff Sean Holmes.
As part of the new program, they are also promoting another way to keep prescription medications safe under lock and key – with a drug lock box that has a lot of applications and different uses.
All of the collection boxes should be at most police stations in Elkhart County by the middle of the month. The program replaces the old “pill drop” that was only done twice a year.