The steel boxes in front of 10 of Baltimore County's police precincts look like library book drop-off stations, but they are part of a plan to reduce the county's drug overdose deaths.
On Friday, county officials unveiled the drop boxes, which are designed to let residents safely get rid of expired or unwanted medications.
"Each of us can help save lives," County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said outside the Cockeysville precinct at an event announcing the installation of the boxes, which are bolted to the ground.
The county takes part in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's national prescription drug "take-back days," but Police Chief Jim Johnson said the boxes would make it more convenient for people to dispose of drugs and medication because they are available all the time.
"Just a few seconds, no questions asked," he said. "We've put nothing in place to track who puts medication in those boxes."
While the boxes are labeled as prescription drug drop-off boxes, Johnson said people are also allowed to place illegal drugs in them.
The county hopes to reduce the number of overdoses by 20 percent over the next two years.
More than 100 people die each year in the county from drug overdoses, officials said. In addition to installing the drop boxes, county officials plan to step up efforts to educate the public about overdose prevention and will advocate for the use of Naloxone, which is used to reverse opioid overdoses, said Deputy Health Officer Della Leister. They are also creating a "lethality review team" to review overdose data.
The county spent $30,000 on the 10 boxes, using funds from the Maryland Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration.
People who want information on how to get help for an addiction can call the county Health Department at 410-887-2243.
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