Grant provides drug dropoff boxes in region

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By Amber Coulter

A grant for the area is making prescription drug drop boxes constantly accessible.

The Office of Drug Control Policy will provide $100,000 annually for three years to Communicare in Elizabethtown through a state agency. The goal is to help reduce substance abuse in those ages 12 to 25 in Communicare’s eight-county service area.

The first year’s focus is on law enforcement and includes making sure each law enforcement agency in the region has a permanent box where anyone can dispose of prescription drugs.

The effort is meant to make sure the drugs don’t end up being abused, giving a reason for assault or burglary or being flushed into the water supply, said Deborah Wolfe, supervisor-prevention for Communicare.

Grants went to seven regions in the state targeted because of need and their ability to implement strategies and show outcomes.

Three regions were targeted for underage drinking and three for prescription drug abuse. The region that includes Hardin County was charged with tackling both issues.

Wolfe said area officials have been working for years to lower the somewhat high underage drinking rate.

“It’s a little harder to improve than something that’s in the federal spotlight all the time, like prescription drugs,” she said.

Efforts to decrease prescription drug abuse, such as a reporting system and turn-in box, have had more success. Law enforcement officials with agencies that have boxes constantly available or publicize prescription drug take back days have said the effort works well, Wolfe said.

Communicare hosted a meeting of law enforcement officials from about 20 agencies last week to discuss putting prescription drug turn-in boxes in their headquarters. They talked about how the Radcliff Police Department uses its box, which constantly is available to the public.

The representatives said they field calls nearly every day from residents asking what they should do with unused prescription drugs. Some agencies already have reported requesting the boxes, Wolfe said.

Participating agencies are asked to hold at least one take-back event within a year of receiving a box.

Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or acoulter@thenewsenterprise.com.