By Charlotte Underwood / Staff writer
A drug drop off box was installed in Williamsburg in an effort to prevent accidental dealing and to cut back on drug abuse in the area.
Prescription drug abuse is a problem plaguing entire communities, but for many, that abuse cycle would never start if more people disposed of their drugs properly, according to Whitley County Operation UNITE representative Wayne Brooks, who said he felt that there were several prescription drug issues that “flagged” the importance of a community drug drop box.
“The average age of a first time user in Southeast Kentucky is 11, this is based on information gathered by Operation UNITE,” Brooks said, adding that these first time users usually got their fist ‘hit’ from a relative or friend.
“We all at some point in our lives end up with unwanted or unneeded prescription drugs,” Brooks said, adding that the real question was how to dispose of these drugs safely and properly, especially since many people don’t want to fill out paperwork at their local police department.
“The drop box is the best and safest way to dispose of unwanted medications,” said Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird, adding that disposing of medicine properly was “especially” important in houses with children.
“Operation UNITE has a mobile pill disposal unit we call the ‘Pill Dragon” which is moved around the 5th Congressional District. We try to have the unit in the Corbin and Williamsburg areas once a year, but the lag time for folks to hold their prescriptions for disposal is just too long,” Brooks said, explaining the importance of the drug drop box.
“The ‘Pillbox’ will be installed at the city hall so people can dispose of prescription drugs with no questions asked,” Brooks said.
UNITE will collect the drugs and dispose of them in the ‘Pill Dragon’.
Whitley County Chair Angie Bowling will monitor the box and notify the pill disposal people when the box needs to be emptied, according to Brooks.
“Because of a large number of grandparents are raising grandchildren, we are also going to be offering individual pillboxes to secure prescriptions that are classified as narcotics. We are in partnership with the Regional Prevention Center in Pineville in the placing of community pillboxes and the distribution of individual lock boxes,” Brooks said, adding that he felt is was important that the community understand the progress that is being made in controlling the prescription drug problem.
“If people would go through their medicine cabinets and clean out their old unwanted medications in a safe and responsible manner, it would absolutely at some point save a life,” Bird said.
Anyone with questions can contact Bowling at 606-549-6023.
By Charlotte Underwood / Staff writer
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