Drug take back program canceled due to funding shortfalls

Published: Feb. 12, 2015 at 3:18 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 12, 2015 at 3:26 AM CST
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JACKSON, MO (KFVS) - Drug take back programs across the country have made it easy and safe to get rid of old prescriptions, but Heartland law enforcement agencies say they were recently notified the Drug Enforcement Administration has cut the program.

Now, many of these departments can't afford to continue that work.

Jackson Police Captain Scott Eakers said this program was a success, but it seems funding cuts forced the Drug Enforcement Administration to shut it down.

Jackson police posted on its Facebook page on Wednesday they will no longer accept old prescription medications.

It's a program simply too expensive to fund without federal support.

Last year, the department incinerated 398 pounds of prescriptions that were dropped off in Jackson alone.

Now, that drop off box sits in a shed behind the station.

Police are worried that means a possible resurgence of pills in homes and schools.

"Younger kids getting them and accidental overdoses. Then you have intentional overdoses," said Jackson Police Captain Scott Eakers."They end up in school for sale. Sales obviously ruin children's lives. The impact, I don't know if we can put a measure on the impact especially since it was a nationwide program that was successful. A lot of times we don't see successful programs, but this program was genuinely successful."

The department is urging people to ask their pharmacist how to dispose of the pills.

Missouri laws says pharmacies cannot accept unused medication, but experts at Broadway Prescription Shop said there are some tricks to throw them away more safely.

"If you put it in coffee grounds or kitty litter, no one can see what it is," said Broadway Prescription Shop Marketing Director Stephanie Rogers. "It's not going to be desirable to children, pets that might get into it. And also drug seekers who might be looking for something like that. They're not going to be able to easily identify that there's medication in there."

She added that while pharmacists cannot take old medication, they can talk with you about how to dispose of it.

In fact, Broadway Prescription Shop has considered selling special packaging to ship old medications to proper disposal facilities.

Jackson isn't the only department to ditch the drop off, Cape County Sheriff's Office has also removed their bin.

The Cape Girardeau Police Department is working to collaborate with another organization to keep the program running.

Jackson hopes to find a solution of their own in the future.

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