By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
Monticello now has a permanent way for residents to dispose of unwanted, expired and/or unused prescription drugs. A permanent drop box has been installed inside the Emergency Response Center, housing the Monticello police and ambulance departments.
The drop box, located in the wall of the entrance is available 24 hours a day. This is the second prescription drug drop-off site in Jones County. In February, a box was placed inside the Jones County Sheriff’s Office in Anamosa in the courthouse; however, that drop-off site is only available during courthouse operating hours. The effort in making these prescription drop-off sites possible was done through the local law enforcement agencies and the Jones County Safe and Healthy Youth Coalition.
Jennifer Husmmann, project coordinator of the Coalition, said these sites would hopefully help to eliminate the abuse of prescription drugs by youth in Jones County. She said already, the box in the courthouse is emptied twice a week. Law enforcement officials then properly dispose all of the prescription drugs dropped off.
From 2008 to 2010, the Iowa Youth Survey showed prescription drug use in Jones County among youth dropped from 7 to 5 percent.
The brochures, soon to be distributed throughout the county, explain that “nonmedical use of prescription drugs is a significant risk to the health and safety of our citizens.” Husmann said of particular concern are controlled substances such as painkillers, depressants (medications for anxiety), steroids and stimulants (used to treat ADHD). She said these medications mixed with alcohol is a deadly combination.
What can you drop off at the prescription drug site? Medicines they accept include: vitamins, samples, prescriptions, prescription patches, prescription medications, prescription ointments, over-the-counter medicines and medications for pets.
They do not accept needles, inhalers, lotions, thermometers, aerosol cans or hydrogen peroxide.
Husmann said the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) was notified of the drop-off sites in Jones County upon installation. She said they keep track of the sites to make sure things are being handled properly.
These drop-off sites are an outlet for people to bring their prescription medications to versus flushing them down the toilet, a practice Husmann said is no longer recommended. She said flushing pills or throwing them in the garbage is a hazard to the environment as the medications can get into the landfill and water system.
“We’re hearing positive things about the boxes,” Husmann said.
One thing the coalition would like to do is keep track of how many pounds of prescription drugs are dropped off at each site, as a way of tracking the success.
If you have any questions regarding the drop-off boxes, contact the MPD at 319-465-3526, the Sheriff’s Office at 319-462-4371 or the Coalition Office at 319-462-5030.