Med-Box set up for collection of unused or expired medications

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Mayor Richard Johnson (left) was one of the first to dispose of medication he no longer needed, using a new Med Box in the Tecumseh Police Department lobby. Chief Troy Stern (right) said medication could be brought in between the hours of 8 a.m. and midnight. Photo by Deb Wuethrich.

A new Med Box for disposal of expired or unused medications is now in operation at the Tecumseh Police Department, which is located at 309 E. Chicago Blvd. Medications may be dropped in the box anytime the police department lobby is open, or between the hours of 8 a.m. and midnight.

The idea of establishing a drop box in the community stemmed from meetings of the Tecumseh Coalition for Youth (TCYF), which formed approximately a year ago and is made up of community members, leaders and youth representatives.
April Demers, Community Development Coordinator for the Coalition said having a medical disposal bin is part of a strategy to reduce prescription medication abuse.

“This will provide the community with an environmentally safe and legal way to dispose of unused or expired prescription medication,” said Demers. “We know that 70 percent of youth who abuse prescription medication get them for free from family or friends. It is vital as a community for us to reduce access to medications that are known to be abused by cleaning out our medication storage cabinets and properly disposing of unused and expired medications.”

Demers recommended that all residents make a concerted effort to be accountable for their medication through knowing what they have, storing it securely, and properly disposing of the excess when appropriate.

Permissible items for the box are expired and unused medications, over-the-counter medications, medication samples, pet medications, medicated ointments/lotions/drops, and un-opened epi-pens. Medications must be in original containers, however names may be crossed out.

Labels on the Med Box list some items that are not to be placed in the box, including liquid medications, needles/lancets/ syringes, illegal drugs, IV bags, thermometers, inhalers, blood or infectious waste, hydrogen peroxide, business waste, empty containers, and personal care products.

The box has been on-site for a couple of weeks, however the city had to receive proper authorization before allowing its use.

“It’s a pretty lengthy process and we had to await authorization from the Drug Enforcement Agency,” said Tecumseh Police Chief Troy Stern. He said the city is also asking that anyone who brings medication to drop off first stop at the dispatch window to report the geographic area where the medication is coming from. “We aren’t asking for names or ID,” he said, “but we’d like to get an idea where the items are coming from since we are supplying this service.”

Prior to providing the Med Box, individuals could only get rid of their medications safely during periodic take-back days, such as the one coordinated through the police department in September when 37 pounds of medication was brought in.

“This program also helps keep medications out of the drinking water, which is what can happen when people dump them down the drain,” said Mayor Richard Johnson. City Manager Kevin Welch said in addition to the TCFY, the city also partnered with ProMedica and Tecumseh Public Schools to provide the $600 disposal box.

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