The Bern Township Police Department and Berks County Detectives Office in Leesport received a Pharmaceutical Drop Box from the Berks County District Attorney’s Office recently.
Bern Township Police Chief Wesley R. Waugh believes that the drop box is a good idea and important for the community.
“As Bern Township Police Chief, this is an important service to our citizens. We have already had a number of medication drop-offs, so the program has been well-received,” said Waugh shortly after the drop box was received.
He believes that this will decrease water contamination since years prior no one knew what to do with old medications and would end up flushing them down the toilet. “Depending on the quantities and substances being released, there is a potential for contamination for many ecosystems, including those important to human food production,” he said.
Another benefit to the community is the accessibility of the drop box.
“The medication drop box at the Bern Township Police Department provides a place for disposal of unwanted substances that is both safe and convenient for Bern Township residents,” said Waugh.
In relation to crime, he explained that incidents and issues related to unlawful uses of prescription medications are on the rise. Waugh recalled a recent burglary that took place in Bern Township involving medication.
“The items taken were money, liquor, and a prescription pain killer,” said Waugh. “Abuse of and addiction to common prescription pain killers are growing problems nationally. Anything that makes unwanted prescription medications less accessible is helpful in preventing abuse problems.”
Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams announced the launch of the Berks County Pharmaceutical Drop Box Initiative Program for Berks County on March 7 at the Berks County AG Center.
The program was developed as a cooperative effort between the District Attorney’s Office, the Council of Chemical Abuse (COCA) and Berks County Solid Waste Authority.
Currently, Berks County offers unwanted pharmaceutical collection twice a year. During these collections, unwanted and expired medications are collected for incineration. Both prescribed and over the counter medications in many forms, including: tablet, liquid, ointment, inhaler, powder or patch, are collected.
This pharmaceutical drop box disposal program is free of charge, requires no ID and is available all year round at secure locations.
According to a release by the D.A.’s office, the program provides benefits to the community including an opportunity to educate the community about the dangers of improperly discarded medications, a decrease of water contamination due to pharmaceutical medications being flushed down the drains in our homes or contained in landfills, and a reduction of access to addictive medications for accidental or intentional misuse by children or other in the home.
Each drop box will be securely placed and locked within a township municipal police building where it can be protected. The drop boxes resemble a United States Postal Service mailbox, where there is an open door to drop medication for collection, but once dropped they cannot be retrieved. Each box will have a separate locked entry for the District Attorney Detectives to retrieve the medications. Inventoried medications will be incinerated at the discretion of the District Attorney’s Detectives and Solid Waste Authority.
Other police departments and locations participating in the program include Bern Twp. Police Department, Kutztown Police Department, Fleetwood Police Department, Amity Police Department, Birdsboro Police Department, Brecknock Police Department, Caernarvon Twp. Police Department, Central Berks Regional P.D., Exeter Twp. Police Department, Muhlenberg Police Department, Sinking Spring Police Department, Spring Twp. Police Department, and Western Berks Regional P.D., as well as Berks County Detectives, Berks Co. AG Center, 1238 Welfare Rd., Leesport.