Area residents have the chance to clear out their medicine cabinets again with this year's National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day from 10 to 2 p.m. Saturday at four locations in Columbiana County.
"Salem Community Hospital is pleased to again be a host dropoff site for the medication take-back event. Each year, we have great participation from the community and collect several hundred pounds of unwanted medications," SCH Vice President Marketing/Planning Debbie Pietrzak said.
The event is sponsored nationally by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as a means to get drugs off the street instead of having them take up residence in people's homes.
Salem Police Chief J.T. Panezott, who spent many years assigned to the DEA before becoming chief this year, said he'll have two officers manning the drug dropoff site at the Salem Medical Center. Residents will remain in their vehicles and hand off the medications to the officers with no questions asked and no identification required.
Medications can be kept in the original container or removed and can be prescription or over-the-counter. Any personal identifying information should be removed from containers. No liquids, aerosols or creams will be accepted.
Panezott said it's a worthwhile effort.
Residents can drive up and drop off their unwanted and expired capsules and tablets at the following locations this Saturday:
- Salem Medical Center, across from Salem Community Hospital, 2094 E. State St.
- Columbiana Sparkle Market, 108 W. County Line Road, Columbiana
- Columbiana County Health Department, 7360 state Route 45, Lisbon
- East Liverpool City Hospital main entrance, 425 W. Fifth St., East Liverpool
"You're taking potential drugs out of a home that could be accessed by kids," he said.
He also said he's heard that most heroin addicts start out by abusing prescription drugs, then go to heroin because it's cheaper. He said the area obviously has a heroin problem.
Salem City Health Commissioner Richard Setty updated his board members on the drug take-back earlier this week, noting the health department distributed flyers to the pharmacies in town to put into prescription bags as inserts to promote the event.
Mayor John Berlin said it's a great opportunity for people to get rid of those drugs they don't know what to do with that may be expired or no longer in use.
Local sponsoring organizations for the drug take-back include: ADAPT Coalition, Columbiana County Drug Task Force, local law enforcement jurisdictions, Columbiana County Health Department, Columbiana County Mental Health & Recovery Services Board, East Liverpool City Health Department, Family Recovery Center, East Liverpool City Hospital, Salem City Health Department and Salem Community Hospital.