State troopers are urging citizens to get rid of prescription drugs that may be lingering in their cabinets.
Maryland State Police barracks across the state, including the Westminster Barrack at 1100 Baltimore Boulevard, will be recognizing National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The event, in partnership with the US Drug Enforcement Administration, is designed to give the public a means of disposing of unused or unwanted medications “while also educating the public about the potential for abuse of medications.”
According to Maryland State Police data, the Westminster Barrack collected 441 pounds of prescription drugs in October and 385 pounds in April 2018.
“As many of us are aware, there is an opioid epidemic amongst us,” Barrack Commander Lt. Rebecca Bosley said in an email. “By providing a safe method to dispose of medications, we begin to eliminate the possibility of having those medications reach the hands of individuals not prescribed.”
The drop-off at the Westminster Barrack, as well as may other secure drop-off locations around the county, is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No questions will be asked when deposits are made.
According to the DEA, the majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends. About 6 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs, according to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
The Maryland State Police is a partner in the Opioid Operational Command Center, which “facilitates collaboration between state and local public health, human services, education, and public safety entities to combat the heroin and opioid crisis and its deadly impact on Maryland communities.”
Locations include the municipal police departments in Westminster, Hampstead, Manchester, Sykesville, Taneytown and Mount Airy; the New Windsor Fire Department and the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office in Westminster and satellite offices in Eldersburg and Greenmount.
The drop-off location in the lobby of the Sheriff’s Office at 100 N. Court Street is open 24/7 although the two satellite sheriff’s offices are not.
Many drop-off locations cannot accept sharps. For disposal in household trash, sharps should be collected in a rigid plastic or metal container like a detergent bottle or coffee can — not soft plastic like a milk jug — and taped closed. They should be placed in the trash, not the recycling. The Mount Airy Police Department, 205 Center Street, can accept sharps at that drop-off location.
Westminster Police Chief Thomas Ledwell said that now that there is a 24/7 drop-off box in the police department, the Drug Take Back Days are more of a chance to educate people and make them aware that the service is available.
He said the drop-off box, located just inside the side door of the police station, receives a fair amount of drop-offs and usually sees a larger influx after the drug take back initiatives.