ACSO partners with Merit Health to help citizens safely discard unused prescriptions

Published 11:53 am Monday, April 26, 2021

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NATCHEZ — In recognition of the national Take Back Initiative sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration on Saturday, April 24, 2021, Adams County Sheriff’s Office has partnered with Merit Health and placed two prescription drop boxes that remain open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

These boxes are meant to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing prescription medication. One of the boxes is in the lobby at Merit Health Natchez at 54 Seargent Prentiss Drive and the other is in the lobby of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office at 306 State St.

Citizens are encouraged to drop any unused medication, expired medication, or medication that they no longer have a need for. The drop boxes are completely anonymous and citizens do not have to fill out any paperwork or sign anything, just simply open the flap on top of the box and drop the medication you want to dispose of.

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Adams County is one of the few counties in the area that has partnered with local businesses to place these drop boxes for the public to access, Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said.

ACSO has turned in 383 pounds worth of medication that has been placed in the two drop boxes over the last six months, Patten said.

Patten said one of his deputies made an arrest last week in which the arrested individual had what he thought was Zanax in his possession that he bought from someone off the streets.

However, the pills were counterfeit and initial tests show methamphetamine was present in the pills, Patten said.

“I know in a neighboring county some pills were seized that contained Fentyl,” he said. “It is going to take all of us to help with this national crisis.”

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office turns over the drop box medication to DEA in sealed boxes. The DEA then takes the sealed boxes to an incinerator and safely destroys the medication that is collected.

“Prescription drug abuse is a huge issue across the South — from college campuses, to street corners and your neighbor’s home,” Patten said. “What’s more, these drugs have become the first target for home burglars, who now go for the medicine cabinet in search of leftover pills. Car burglars are going through vehicles looking for small items to take and prescription medication is always on their mind. We simply must do more to keep these medications out of the wrong hands. We are working with DEA, local businesses, and the court systems to get prescription drugs off the street.”