Police: Prescription Drop Boxes Decrease Fatal Overdoses

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Guilford County law enforcement agencies are the latest to join in a statewide effort to curb prescription drug abuse by installing prescription drop off boxes.

"Just because they (drugs) are are prescribed doesn't mean you're safe," said Jeff Pruett, the chronic pain initiative coordinator for Partnership for Community Care.

This agency is part of a statewide coalition with Alcohol and Drug Services, Triad law enforcement and the community. That coalition is expanding its effort to reduce statewide prescription overdose deaths, an initiative modeled on "Project Lazarus."

That project focuses on opioid safety and overdose prevention and has been proven successful in reducing prescription misuse in Wilkes County. Drop off boxes were installed there in 2007, after the county had the third-worst rate of prescription overdose deaths in the county.

With just one prescription drop off box, the High Point Police Department collected 1,000 pounds of prescription drugs last year. Greensboro Police Officer Tim Bloch said he is hopeful the Greensboro Police Department and Guilford County Sheriff's Office will have similar success. Bloch said even in just the past two weeks the police department has had the boxes, they've become regularly full.

Bloch said he sees, firsthand, how prescription drugs are misused in Guilford County. He said he often responds to what are dubbed "skittle parties," in which teenagers bring parents' prescription drugs to a home, mix them in a bowl and blindly take the unknown pills.

Pruett also cited the CDC's statistic---since 2012, deaths from prescription overdoses have exceeded deaths from car accidents.

Bloch and Pruett assured all prescriptions dropped off in the boxes are incinerated, and the boxes are kept securely inside the law enforcement agencies.

Accepted drop-off items include:

  • Expired or unwanted prescriptions
  • Unknown tablets or capsules
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Creams and ointments
  • Veterinary medications

Items not accepted include:

  • Liquids
  • Thermometers
  • Needles or syringes
  • Medical waste of any type
  • Non-medical chemicals of any type
  • Bathroom products, such as personal hygiene items

Some prescription drop-off locations in the Triad include:

  • Greensboro Police Department (Maple Street and Swing Street locations)
  • Guilford County Sheriff's Office (coming soon)
  • High Point Police Department
  • Reidsville Police Department
  • Madison Police Department
  • Eden Police Department
  • Rockingham County Sheriff's Office (Wentworth)
  • Randolph County Sheriff's Office
  • Archdale Police Department (coming soon)
  • Stokes County Sheriff's Office
  • King Police Department
  • Wilkes County Sheriff's Office
  • Yadkin County Sheriff's Office
  • Chatham County Sheriff's Office

For a full list of prescription drop boxes, visit the RX Drug Drop Box website.


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