Over the past four months, the Armstrong Atlantic State University’s police department collected nearly 500 pounds of unused prescription drugs. With the help of the Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team, the drugs were transported to Florida to be incinerated.
The program, started by CNT, was spurred by the need to keep prescription drugs out of the water supply.
“Most people just flush the drugs down their toilets,” said Autumn Rahn, the coordinator of Armstrong’s prescription drug drop-off program. “This method leads to the drugs infiltrating the water supply, which is highly unhealthy. Instead, the drugs need to be destroyed completely.”
The Armstrong police department has the only 24-hour prescription drug drop-off box in Chatham County, so the amount collected can be substantial. People can anonymously drop medication off at any time, but the pickup by CNT only occurs when a large volume is accumulated.
The prescription drug take-back service has proven beneficial to the community in several ways, from ensuring a clean water supply to keeping drugs out of the wrong hands. Additionally, family and friends of cancer patients benefit from this service.
Rahn explains that people with severe illnesses often require multiple medications, and when those individuals die, their relatives can be left with massive amounts of prescription drugs. Armstrong’s take-back system helps them rid their homes of dangerous drugs and, possibly, ease their grief.
“It touches everyone whether they realize it or not,” she said.
Amstrong’s prescription drug drop-off box is open to the public.