Drop box, drug drop successPublished 9:22pm Monday, October 28, 2013
Saturday, Mariana Phelps drove from Washington County to go to Lowe’s Home Improvement. She wasn’t going to shop for hardware, she went to drop off a rather large assortment of controlled substances collected from clients by the Washington County Department of Social Services.
Phelps was one of many who dropped off drugs — prescription, controlled substances, over the counter — at the twice-yearly Operation Medicine Drop.
“We had a good turnout,” according to Investigator Greg Rowe, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office drug diversion officer. “People were actually showing up 10, 15 minutes before we even set up.”
Rowe said the total topped March’s numbers by a couple of thousand dosages, with 64,659 doses collected in a four-hour period. That breaks down to 165-pounds’ worth of drugs, of which 36,867 were prescription medications; 21,177, over the counter drugs; 6,608, controlled substances; and seven veterinary medications.
The set dates for collection twice a year allows law enforcement to advertise the take-back event nationally, as part of national campaign by DEA, state and local law enforcement agencies to keep drugs out of the hands of people who would abuse them. But the sheriff’s office drug unit was also spreading the word about the permanent drop box for drugs now located in the sheriff’s office lobby on Market Street in Washington.
The word is getting out. While the Operations Medicine Drop numbers continue to rise, the amount of pharmaceuticals found in the drop box each month has also risen since its June installation. Now that people are becoming aware they no longer have to wait for Operation Medicine Drop events, it’s filling up quickly, according to Rowe.