South Hills police participating in Drug Take-Back Day April 26

Published Apr 18, 2014 at 4:28 pm (Updated Apr 18, 2014 at 4:28 pm)

Experts never advise flushing unwanted or unused prescriptions or over-the-counter medications down the toilet to eventually end up in the water system.

For the past several years, local police departments have participated in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, with another collection set for April 26.

Those with unwanted or expired medications may leave the items between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. This will be the seventh such event.

All of the medication collected is picked up by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and is burned.

Upper St. Clair Township police Lt. James Englert coordinates the collection and has seen a steady increase in the past four or so events in which the township has participated.

No questions are asked of those who deposit medications at the sites. Englert said reducing the bulk, such as taking the pills out of the prescription bottles and placing them in a plastic bag, helps to cut down on the excess.

“We pretty much take anything,” he said, adding while not encouraged, syringes and needles may be brought to the collection sites if absolutely necessary. Handling any needle products presents safety concerns.

In Upper St. Clair, medication may be brought to the police department in the township building at 1820 McLaughlin Run Road.

In Bethel Park, police Chief John Mackey said there are two collection points planned for April 26, one at the Bethel Park Community Center on Park Avenue, and at Highmark Direct in the Norman Center, 1775 Highland Road.

“It’s usually older people coming in,” Mackey said. He usually helps at the Highland Direct location. Last collection day, he said a man working at a nursing home collected unused medications from the patients and asked fellow employees for personal unwanted medication. He appeared with a filled large lawn and leaf bag. The Bethel Park sites will not accept any Epi pens or needles of any types, and also will not accept liquids.

Mt. Lebanon police Deputy Chief Aaron Lauth said personnel will be on hand to collect the medication in the Medical Rescue South location at 315 Cypress Way. Relatively new is the collection box, which is available 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week outside the police department offices at 555 Washington Road. Lauth said to use the rear entrance to the police station to access the collection box.

Peters Township police Chief Harry Fruecht has been involved in the program since its inception and has added new collection sites this year, including a new drive-through location, bringing the total to four.

Police officers will be available to assist with collections at the two Giant Eagle supermarket locations, in the Donaldsons Crossroads shopping center and the new Market District Express farther north on Washington Road. The McMurray Dairy Bar always participated, and the new owners of Heisler’s Market will remain as a drop-off site. New is the drive-through at Wright’s Methodist Church in Venetia.

“We’re making this as convenient as possible for everyone in the township to find a location,” Fruecht said.

Like Mt. Lebanon, Peters Township has a permanent drop-off box in the lobby of the police station available 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Fruecht has seen the collection total increase steadily. About 50 pounds of medication was collected during the first collection, and that number jumped to 235 pounds by the second collection. Weights now exceed 400 pounds on each take-back day.

“It’s been a very good program,” he said. “But it’s kind of scary to see the (weights) climb.”

Bridgeville and South Fayette Township police do not participate.

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