By the time the opened up lines for medication disposal on Saturday morning, the cars were already backed up to the road.
The town’s fourth annual medication disposal program not only had an early crowd, but nearly matched it’s total for the first year in the first hour as 176 cars came through – and things never slowed down from there as the volunteer collection led to the intake of over 16,000 doses of unused medications.
“The program led us to fill nine 55-gallon drums and, in addition, we found a number of other materials that we are not normally able to dispose of the traditional way,” said Southington Town Councilor John Dobbins, a pharmacist by trade.
With 483 cars coming through by the end of the day – a 132 participant increase over the programs previous high – town officials are left with a new question regarding the program’s success: Is it time to set-up a full-time drop off point in town?
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Efforts are already underway in Southington to make a permanent drop-off point at the , officials said Monday. The drop-off point would be within the lobby of police headquarters on Lazy Lane and would be open for use to anyone, 24-hours per day and seven days per week, town officials said.
Garry Brumback said moving to establish a permanent drop-off point is a smart move for the town and a service that will benefit everyone.
“From my perspective, this is one more tool we could have in our efforts to eliminate illegal drugs and make it possible for those who want to get rid of unused drugs to do so,” Brumback said. “People in town are showing they are going to be responsible, but I believe they will be particularly careful if they have means to do so.”
The program this year saw a wide-range of medications that were disposed of, including painkillers and even unusual medications such as toothache wax by Rexall. The wax, which resembles a tar substance, was used in the 1940’s era in order for residents with tooth pain to address their pain when they couldn’t get to a dentist, Dobbins said.
Sgt. Lowell DePalma, public information officer for the Southington Police Department, said the program gets medications off the streets and is assisting town programs and organizations including DARE, Southington STEPS, Parents-4-A-Change and more in efforts to promote a drug-free community.
In addition, Dobbins and Brumback each said Monday that the program is an essential one to prevent the flushing of medications, which could leave the town with additional costs in the long-run.
“If a program like this is not made available on a regular basis, more than once per year, many people will take the easy way out and dump the medications down toilet and into our sewer system,” Brumback said. “As soon as the federal government got involved in eliminating chemicals from the waste system, we were warned there would be more expansive requirements to come.”
There is no timetable for a permanent drop-off box, Dobbins said, but the program seems imminent and is likely to come to Southington in the very near future.
Dobbins said more details would be released as they become available.
"There’s always a need for something like that," he said. "Unfortunately, all I can say right now is it is in the works."
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