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Permanent Prescription Box Added

By Staff | Jan 26, 2015

In an effort to combat a rise in prescription drug abuse, the Shepherdstown Police Department has obtained a permanent prescription drug drop off box.

In a partnership with the WV Attorney General’s Office the police department will establish a permanent medication drug collection program.

Shepherdstown Police applied for and received a $695 grant from the Attorney General’s Public Health Trust to purchase the drug box, now available to the community five days a week.

“Prescription drug abuse is a significant problem in West Virginia, and our office’s Public Health Trust is committed to doing what it can to assist city, county and state law enforcement in their efforts to dispose of unused or expired medicine and keep it out of the wrong, hands,” Attorney General Morrisey said in a press release.

According to a recent article in the Atlantic magazine, prescription drug abuse has begun greatly impacting the state of West Virginia as a whole.

“Since prescription painkillers became cheap and plentiful in the mid-90s, drug overdose death rates in the U.S. have more than tripled. West Virginia was slammed especially severely, and for the past several years its had the highest drug overdose death rate in the nation.”

Though overdoses have been infrequent locally, Shepherdstown Police Chief David Ransom contends, the problem is serious enough here to warrant the implementation of a drug drop-off box program.

“As with anywhere in the area, we have a prescription drug problem,” he said.

Ransom explained that a permanent drug drop-off box serves a method of deterrence.

“If the unused prescription is not dropped off, there’s a possibility it could be sold. There’s a possibility that someone could ingest and overdose on it, causing injury or death,” he said.

According to the Atlantic, a 2006 study of people who died of painkiller overdoses in West Virginia found that 63 percent did not hold a prescription in their own name.

Ransom said drug abusers are likely to steal prescription drugs form strangers and obtain them illegally from friends, family and acquaintances.

For the past several years the Shepherdstown Police Department has participated in the DEA’s nationwide drug take-back events, using a temporary drug drop-off box that the chief has held onto.

This year, the chief said he made it a priority to find a permanent alternative, to further the effort against community abuse of unused medicines

“I’ve wanted a permanent one,” he said.

With the assistance of Jefferson County Sheriff Pete Dougherty, the Shepherdstown Police Department is now the second town in the county with a permanent box and Chief Ransom said it’s already making a difference.

“On a daily basis people are coming in and dropping off prescription medication,” he said

The collection site is open Monday through Friday, the department’s regular business hours from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Prescription drugs can be dropped off, no questions asked.