Merit Health, ACSO provide secure drug drop off

Published 9:05 pm Sunday, September 30, 2018

Special to the Democrat

NATCHEZ — Merit Health Natchez worked closely with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office  and the Natchez Adams Regional Counterdrug Taskforce (NARC) unit to become a secure drug drop off box location as a means to dispose of unwanted, unused or expired medications.

The box is located inside the hospital near the information desk area on the first floor.

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The Sheriff’s Office at 306 State St.  has housed the community’s only drug drop off box for more than a year.

“We work with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and follow their strict guidelines regarding regular security checks and proper removal and shipment of the collected drugs to the DEA,” said Major Shane Daugherty with the Narcotics Unit. “We were pleased to get the call from Merit Health Natchez expressing their interest in helping us not only by offering to be a drop off location, but also in raising awareness of this valuable service to our community.”

“Unwanted, unused or expired prescription drugs that are often found in our home medicine cabinets can lead to considerable risks to our community, either by falling in the wrong hands or by damaging our environment through improper disposal,” Merit Health Natchez CEO Lance Boyd said. “We are proud to be working together with local law enforcement to provide this safe alternative method to dispose of unwanted prescription and over the counter medications. I commend the Adams County Sheriff’s Office and the NARC unit for their willingness to expand the drop off location to include the hospital and provide the proper service checks and disposal.”

“Together, we can all do our part to help reduce these drugs from becoming the supply of choice for young people and criminals,” Boyd said.

While people can drop off their unwanted drugs throughout the year, the DEA hosts a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day twice a year. On April 28, a record number of nearly one million pounds of prescription drugs were collected and destroyed from nearly 6,000 drug drop off box locations around the United States. Mississippi, with 46 locations, contributed 5,842 pounds, 21.9 pounds of which came from Adams County.

“October 27 will be the next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, and we look forward to working with Merit Health Natchez to bring awareness and increase participation in this initiative that addresses a vital public safety and public health issue,” Sheriff Travis Patten said. “I encourage everyone to do your part by checking your home medicine cabinets and other areas in your home you suspect may have expired, unwanted or unused prescription drugs and bringing them to one of the two drop off locations.”