New Castle County Chief of Police Colonel E.M. Setting was joined by County Executive Thomas P. Gordon, and Delaware’s Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Thomas Rattay to announce the unveiling of a prescription drug drop-box that will be available to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This disposal receptacle is the first of its kind to be offered by a police agency in the state and will be located in the lobby of the Public Safety Building, which is located at 3601 North Dupont Highway in New Castle, Delaware.
County Executive Tom Gordon thanked the New Castle County Police Department and the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services for participating in this press conference.
“Anytime you see the police department reaching out and doing prevention, it’s a great thing,” said County Executive Gordon. “I congratulate you, Colonel, for your continuing efforts in thinking of other ways we can reduce crime. Over the last 10 years, prescription drugs have really been a problem, and I’m sure that some of those prescription drugs out on our streets have come from the home. It’s great to see this program being put in place.”
The New Castle County Division of Police has participated in periodic prescription drug Take-Back events held statewide in coordination with the Delaware Division of Public Health and the DEA.
In seven events over the past three years, more than 28,000 pounds of unneeded or expired prescription medications have been turned in for the secure disposal by citizens. In 2012, Delaware collected 6,808 lbs. of unwanted or expired prescription drugs that were turned in by citizens throughout the state at approximately 31 different drop-off locations.
That was a significant increase from 2011.
However, recognizing the need for Delawareans to safely dispose of prescription drugs on an ongoing basis, the Division of Police worked with the DEA, Delaware Division of Public Health, and the state’s Prescription Drug Action Committee to establish a drop-off site available 24 hours a day, seven days a week where citizens can anonymously turn in their expired or unwanted prescription drugs.
The dropbox at the Sweeney Public Safety Building is the first offered to Delawareans on a permanent basis.Studies have shown that residential supplies of pharmaceutical controlled substances - those found in ourhome medicine cabinets - have become the supply of choice for young people and criminals. Many abusers, a high percentage of which are teens, are known to have obtained their controlled substances from the homes of family and friends.
In addition, research has shown that our environment has been threatened by medications being flushed down toilets.
Most controlled substances are created synthetically, and are not removed through normal water-treatment processes. This can result in the discharge of these substances into the environment and into our ground water supplies.
“This program will not only help to protect the environment, it can also deter the usage of prescription drugs by unintended parties - including young people facing peer pressure and new ways to 'get high,'" Colonel Setting said. "The Division of Police will continue to strive to be proactive in enhancing public safety and saving lives.”
Colonel Setting also thanked Captain Quinton Watson, his Special Operations Section Commander, for his pro-active approach and taking the initiative in making sure that our agency became involved in this program.
“For our department, being able to provide a permanent 24 hours a day, seven days a week, disposal station in the lobby of our headquarters where our citizens can safely and anonymously dispose of their expired or unwanted prescription drugs; shows eagerness to be responsive to the ever-changing issues within the communities that we serve, states Captain Quinton Watson.
According to a 2010 United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration survey, the incidence of prescription drug abuse in Americans over 50 is rising, making up 3.5 percent of all substance abuse treatment admissions in 2008, up from 0.7 percent in 1992. Substance abuse is more easily overlooked in adults ages 50 and over because its symptoms often mimic other medical andbehavioral disorders more common amount this population, such as dementia, diabetes and depression.
“With the advent of the New Castle County Police Department’s new prescription drugs drop box, the public can safely dispose of their expired, unused or unnecessary medications in a manner that is safe for their homes, their communities, and the environment," said Director of the Division of Public Health and co-chair of the Prescription Drug Action Committee, Dr. Karyl Rattay. "In addition, they have access to the drop box 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“I extend grateful ‘thank-you’s’ to Captain Quinton Watson and Chief Elmer Setting for taking the lead on this initiative.”Dr. Rattay also thanked the Attorney General’s Office, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Delaware State Police, the Department of State, our hospitals and the security offices statewide.
According to Dr. Rattay, “By keeping expired or unnecessary medications in your medicine cabinet, you increase the risk of another person using them; either on purpose or by accident. We have seen the ravages of this epidemic; addiction, injuries, suicides and accident overdose deaths, sweep across our state. Today, 80 percent of Delaware’s drug overdoses involve one or more prescription drugs.
What’s even more alarming, accidental drug poisoning deaths now kill more Delawareans than car crashes.
"Prescription drug abuse is a growing epidemic across our State,” said Attorney General Beau Biden. “We’ve taken needed action to reduce the illegal diversion of these drugs into the black market and to raise awareness of this public health and criminal justice threat, but more needs to be done to keep prescription drugs out of the hands of addicts and dealers.
"I applaud the New Castle County Police Department for providing Delaware consumers with their first permanent drop-off location where they can securely and anonymously dispose of unneeded and unwanted prescription drugs.”