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STEPS, Police to Unveil New Medication Disposal Box

The new drop-box at the Southington Police Department will provide a 24-hour, seven day a week place for local residents to drop off unwanted and unused medications anonymously, allowing for cleaner water and promoting a drug-free community.

Over the past four years, Southington’s annual medication return program at the Southington Water Department has helped take thousands of unused drugs off the street or prevented them from being flushed into the sewers. The success has been unprecedented.

But alas, that was just a once a year opportunity.

A new program that will officially begin this week aims to provide a more permanent option for local residents – one that would provide an option 24-hours a day, seven days a week for residents to go when they need to get rid of their medications. And it’s anonymous.

The Southington Police Department, in partnership with the Southington Town-wide Effort to Promote Success, will unveil the new drop box at the police department Thursday evening, officially becoming on of just a handful of towns in the state to offer the option.

“It’s an effort that provides two different benefits for the town,” said Southington Town Council Chairman John Dobbins, a pharmacist by trade.

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The concept for the program was something that had been discussed previously, Dobbins said during a council meeting last month, but the need was exposed in April 2012 when a total of 483 cars went to the Southington Water Department in just a five-hour period to drop off unwanted medications.

Kelly Leppard, youth prevention coordinator for the STEPS program, said she is extremely proud to see the drop-boxes come to fruition. She said it will be a tremendous benefit to helping fight drug-abuse in the community by preventing medications from being left unmonitored in medicine cabinets and closets across the community.

“This is a great way to let people drop of medications without any fear of repercussion or concern over who will be able to find out what they had,” Leppard said. “We are excited to get this off the ground.”

The boxes will be available beginning Friday, Oct. 12, Leppard and Southington Police Sgt. Jeffrey Dobratz said. The medications should be labeled if possible, although names and addresses can be blacked out with sharpies or other ink.

Dobratz said those who may have any powdered medications should be alert, however, as rules do not allow them to be brought inside the department. Instead there will be a separate, special drop box available outside the entrance to the department.

“The community has responded well and done the responsible thing and we hope this will only encourage them to continue to make the right choice,” Dobratz said.

Anyone with questions or concerns regarding the drop program is encouraged to contact Kelly Leppard at southingtonsteps@gmail.com or at (860) 276‐6285.

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