Got Drugs? You can now drop off your unused or unwanted prescription drugs at the Hoquiam Police Department any time. Thanks in part to Jefferson County who donated the large metal drop box.
Police Chief Jeff Myers tells us they have participated in the Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Drug Takeback day twice a year for the past four years, collecting and safely disposing of over 1,307 pounds of unwanted medications.
Myers said the program provided an opportunity for citizens to safely dispose of unwanted prescription and over the- counter medications. Safe disposal prevents diversion of medications to children, teens and drug abusers; it also prevents chemical derivatives from ending up in the water table from medications being flushed into the sewer system.
For most teens, drug abuse starts from within the family medicine cabinet, not from the drug dealer.
The DEA provided boxes for each collection day and the department shipped the filled boxes back to the DEA for incineration. The most recent DEA Take Back-Day was September 27, 2014 whereby the department collected 165 pounds of medication from 58 people. This volume of medications filled six large boxes.
To date, the Hoquiam Police Department has successfully collected and safely disposed of 1,307 pounds of unwanted medications. Myers said it’s a great program, but limited to certain dates.
“Inevitably, within a few days of the last Drug Take-Back day, citizens came in with medication wondering when the next collection day would be? Each year it was not clear if the federal government would continue to fund Take-Back days. Our sergeants felt it was important to provide safe medication disposal more than just twice per year.”
While at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department on a recent investigation, Det. Sgt. Shane Krohn was able to obtain a brand-new, metal Drug Take-Back box; Jefferson County donated it to HPD.
Image Signs of Hoquiam marked the box before it was installed by Police Services Officer Roy Kinney in the police department lobby. PSO Kinney recognized the important need of this service and finished the installation on his day-off.
Myers said “I am very proud of the ingenuity and dedication of our staff in serving the citizens of Hoquiam with programs such as this Drug Take-Back drop box. HPD is the first law enforcement agency with this service, so we hope all citizens in Grays Harbor will take advantage of safely disposing of medication 24/7 in our lobby drop-box. Although there is a nominal measure of work added to our evidence custodians, as well as a small fee for incinerating these medications, our department leadership team felt the benefit outweighs the cost.
The Grays Harbor County Health Department is currently applying for a $2000 grant to assist in supporting and promoting this valuable service. I would like to commend Det. Sgt. Krohn, Officer Gaddis and PSO Kinney for their work in implementing this program.