Drug return boxes are anonymous, secure and help prevent prescription drug and heroin abuse
PHILADELPHIA (May 11, 2016) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams today announced the expansion of the Office’s prescription drug drop off pilot program into seven new Philadelphia Police Districts. The drop off locations allow anyone to safely and anonymously dispose of unwanted prescription drugs.
“Since January of this year, when we launched the pilot program, we have collected about 200 pounds of unwanted and unneeded prescription drugs,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “These secure drop off boxes are certainly a benefit the public and the environment. For example, they keep medications out of our water supply. But more importantly, since the abuse of prescription medications often leads to opiate and heroin abuse, these drop off boxes will save lives.”
The pilot program began with boxes in the 1st, 15th, 19th, 22nd, 25th and 35th police districts. Today, the program is being expanded into the 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 12th, 14th and 26th police districts; eventually the pilot will be expanded into every Police District throughout the City.
“We appreciate the ongoing effort in creating options for residents to safely dispose of prescription drugs, to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. We will continue to work together to address this issue,” added Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross.
Philadelphia has the highest rate of drug overdoses in Pennsylvania, nearly 42 people per 100,000. There were more than 650 overdose deaths in Philadelphia in 2014. Of those, approximately 370 had prescription opioids in their system and more than half had heroin in their system.
The Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) will house the boxes and Philadelphia District Attorney (DAO) County Detectives will collect the medications and transport them to Covanta, which is located in Conshohocken, where they will be burned at no cost. The boxes were made available to the DAO through a grant from the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.