Hinsdale Police, HCC install Rx drop box

Tuesday January 15, 2013

HINSDALE, N.H. -- Residents concerned about unused prescription medications in the home now have a safe way to dispose of them.

The Hinsdale Police Department, in partnership with the Hinsdale Community Coalition, has installed a prescription drug drop box in its lobby for the responsible collection of unneeded medications. The police department is located at 102 River Road.

The HCC's Patrice Strifert said the box, which cost about $900, was put in place about a month ago. She said the coalition paid for the box on the condition that the police make sure all proper protocol was followed in regards to its installation.

"The police have been wonderful," she told the Reformer. "It's been a win-win situation so far, from my point of view."

Prescription medicines (such as pills, liquids and creams still in their containers), over-the-counter medications, medicine for pets, nebulizer solutions and inhalers can be dropped off in the box. However, syringes or "sharps," IV bags, oxygen tanks and nebulizer machines are prohibited for safety reasons.

Strifert said youth-risk behavior surveys, which gauge the vices students are most vulnerable to, are conducted every two years and the results released in 2011 indicated that use of prescription narcotics among children and adults was sharply on the rise.

She said community coalitions and similar organizations throughout the Monadnock region got together to figure out how this problem could be combated and she learned Keene had installed a drop box. She said Keene once reported collecting more than 270 pounds of medication.

Hinsdale Police Chief Todd Faulkner said though the drop box is part of a Drug Enforcement Administration program, it must adhere to New Hampshire Attorney General's guidelines of standard operating procedure. He said the box must remain bolted down in a secure location and have an officer in charge of inventorying it.

He said the box, which is monitored by a closed-circuit camera system, will be sorted through once a month by Lt. David Eldridge. Faulkner said all the items will be brought to an incinerator in Claremont and destroyed at no cost to taxpayers.

He said the box essentially will do the same thing as drug takeback days, which have been held at Hinsdale High School, the town hall and Rolling Hills Village. He said, however, those days are held few and far between.

"It's extremely important. The last thing we want is for those medications to wind up in the wastewater treatment plant," he said, adding that some people have a horrible habit of flushing unneeded narcotics down the toilet or in the trash. "(Having a drop box) is the safest way for people to dispose of medications."

Strifert said many people would be surprised by how easily some young people get prescription drugs. She said not all drugs are passed hand to hand or sold by peers -- some can be stolen from unsuspecting relatives. This is just one of many facts Strifert and the HCC are trying to use to educate the public. She said the HCC plans to use its newsletter to get the word out.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.


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