MASON COUNTY — Mason County residents had the opportunity to clear their shelves of unwanted or expired prescription medications Saturday when Drug Take-Back Day was held in two locations.
Sheriff Greg Powers said the day went well, with “no issues” in either Point Pleasant or New Haven.
The sheriff said three large bags of drugs were collected at the Point Pleasant site. In New Haven, the same large bags were used, but less than one bag was collected. New Haven Recorder Roberta Hysell, who assisted with the day in that location, said it was the lowest amount they had ever collected.
Officials, however, were not disappointed in the amount taken in, because county residents now have year-long opportunities to properly dispose of the unwanted medication.
Earlier this year, the Mason County Prevention Coalition and Mason County Health Department began distributing personal drug disposal systems, consisting of a 17-ounce bottle where unwanted pills can be placed. Once full, a packet of included powder is placed in the bottle, along with water. After shaking, the pills turn into a slime-like substance. The entire bottle can then be safely tossed in the trash.
A permanent drug drop-box has also been added inside the entrance at the Mason County Courthouse. It is accessible during regular courthouse business hours.
Sheriff Powers said about 25 pounds of medication had been collected from the permanent box earlier, and was stored until the Drug Take-Back Day. He said the box was emptied again Saturday, and estimated an additional eight to 10 pounds were collected.
“Drug Take-Back Day gives us an easy way to get rid of what has been collected in the permanent disposal box,” the sheriff said.
Powers added that all the drugs collected from Drug Take-Back Day, as well as the permanent box, were picked up by an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). While the DEA representative usually weighs the bags, the sheriff said they were not weighed this year.
Drug Take-Back Day is a national initiative by the U.S. Department of Justice’s DEA, and is aimed at providing a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs. It also educates the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing who lives in Mason County.