The Ferguson Township Police Department is one of seven year-round prescription drop-off sites in Centre County.
The Ferguson Township collection site—located in the Police Department office at 3147 Research Drive—provides a safe, convenient, responsible and confidential way to dispose of prescription drugs. The new site is part of a local law enforcement and community initiative to educate the general public about the current opioid addiction crisis and the potential for abuse of medications. "Anyone who takes opioids or has access to them is at risk of becoming addicted," according to Ferguson Township Chief of Police Diane Conrad.
Chief Conrad, who serves on the Centre County Criminal Justice Advisory Board subcommittee formed to address the overdose issue in our community, said the boxes are one way to help keep these medications out of the hands of those inclined to abuse them. An opiate and heroin epidemic is taking lives and devastating families nationwide as well as locally, and it will take a collaborative effort to stop it. That collaborative effort is being realized in the newly formed Heroin, Opioid, Prevention, Education (HOPE) Coalition. This initiative aims to prevent and reduce the number of overdoses and overdose-related deaths in Centre County.
The Centre County Coroners Office reported 15 overdose-induced deaths in 2014, 15 in 2015, and 12 to date in 2016. Six occurred in Ferguson Township.
Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are accidental poisonings and overdoses. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including the home medicine cabinet.
In addition, Americans are advised that the usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—pose potential safety and health hazards.
Residents are encouraged to bring your old or unused prescription medicine bottles to the Ferguson Township Police Department or any one of the MedReturn collection sites in Centre County, which include:
- Bellefonte Borough Police Department
- Willowbank Office Building
- Centre County Sheriff's Office
- Patton Township Police Department
- Penn State University Police Department
- State College Police Department
The collected medications are periodically transported to a site where they will be incinerated.
While MedReturn accepts non-opioid over-the-counter medications and vitamins, Chief Conrad said
residents are encouraged to dispose of those by other means—adhering to the FDA guidelines. Those medications may be thrown in the trash, provided they are wrapped in coffee grounds or kitty litter and tightly sealed. Additional information about disposal may be found by clicking the link below.
"The real focus of the MedReturn box is to keep opioid medications out of circulation—out of medicine cabinets where family members or visitors to your home can access them," she said. "Studies have shown that many young people first acquired these addictive medications from the homes of family and friends. If your over-the-counter medications contain an opioid, and you no longer need them, please bring them to the MedReturn box." MedReturn also accepts physician samples.
To protect your identity, always remove prescription labels from bottles or use a black marker to scratch out all identifying information before depositing the containers in the MedReturn box.
Overdose Prevention and Response: Ferguson Township Police are trained to administer Naloxone in an overdose emergency. Learn more.
Police remind everyone that any person who summons aid for someone believed to be in a medical emergency as a result of a drug overdose is immune from prosecution if he or she summons aid, provides his or her name, and remains with the person until emergency responders arrive. Drug Overdose Response Immunity.
See an Overdose? Call 9-1-1 and Save a Life
Food & Drug Administration (FDA): How to Dispose of Unwanted Medications