STANTON — Montcalm County is now home to five new medication drop-off box locations.
The fifth box was unveiled Monday in the lobby of the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office in Stanton. Additional locations include police departments in Carson City, Greenville, Howard City and Lakeview.
The drop-off boxes are an anonymous way for anyone to dispose of expired or unwanted medications. Local officials are hoping the convenient locations will reduce crime and tragic accidents.
Montcalm County Sheriff Bill Barnwell said his officers traditionally had to schedule drop-off times and locations with people who had unwanted meds. Now, people can dispose of meds in the sheriff’s lobby 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“We’re very happy,” said Barnwell of the new box location. “This makes it easy for people and it saves my officers time. We’re glad to be partners with local law enforcement in this effort.”
The big red box cost about $300 to purchase and install. Drug-Free Montcalm provided stickers to place on the box to raise awareness of its purpose.
According to Sheridan Community Hospital Pharmacy Director Mary Thomas, improper disposal of meds can harm the environment by getting into the water supply. Keeping unused, unwanted or expired drugs in the home are also a source of theft. Thomas said studies have shown that teenage drug abuse often begins by taking prescription drugs from the medicine cabinets of family or friends. Accidental poisonings of children and pets is another potential problem with keeping unused medications or improper disposal of those meds.
“It’s safe, easy and accessible,” summarized Thomas of the new drop-off boxes throughout Montcalm County.
The drop boxes became a reality in part through the Medication Disposal Coalition of Montcalm County, which formed in January 2011. For more information, call Thomas at (989) 291-3269 ext. 226 or search “Medication Disposal Coalition of Montcalm County” on Facebook.
On a related note, the Michigan State Police Lakeview Post on M-46 just west of Lakeview will host National Prescription Drug Take Back Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration. The service is free and anonymous with no questions asked.