The Poteau Police Department is now home to a prescription medication disposal container provided by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.
The drop box arrived Tuesday along with OBN Director Darrell Weaver and a large group of area prevention representatives.
The Poteau Police Department location marks the 141st container placed in the state to help with the safe disposal of medication. Since the programs inception two years ago, more than 20 tons of unwanted medications have been collected, according to Weaver.
Mark Woodward, OBN spokesman, said properly disposing of expired medication is crucial.
â€śPrescription drug abuse is a growing epidemic in Oklahoma. Itâ€™s unnecessary and unsafe to leave outdated drugs in the house. Old, expired medications left in the home can be targeted by users. Teenagers also target their parentâ€™s current or expired prescription drugs to abuse, trade or sell in order to obtain alcohol, marijuana or other drugs,â€ť Woodward said.
Weaver said the containers are vital for preventing potential disasters that could occur by keeping unwanted medications.
"Prescription drug abuse is a "silent cancer" in Oklahoma with 81 percent of the drug overdose deaths in our state tied to prescription drugs. Simply put, our citizens areÂ dying and it's unacceptable. The partnership with Covanta Energy is a win-win-win; the drugs are converted into renewable energy, this service does not cost the citizens of Oklahoma and the pharmaceuticals are destroyed. This is a good example of a public/private partnership. This program has had aÂ significant impact on this troubling problem. If we save one citizenâ€™s life then the effort will be worth it," Weaver said.
The drop-box will be located in the lobby of the Poteau Police Department and the public is encouraged to take advantage of the disposal site.
A second container is located in the lobby of the LeFlore County Sheriff's Department.