By Danza Johnson | NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Saturday’s drug drop-off campaign was a benefit for both law enforcement and citizens.
Dozens of people dropped off prescription medicines that were just sitting in medicine cabinets at different locations across Northeast Mississippi. Many pounds of unneeded pills were collected Saturday, and Friday in some places, as a part off the third annual Nationwide Prescription Drug Take-Back.
In Lee County, drugs from blood pressure medication to heart pills were collected. Residents jumped at the opportunity to dispose of these drugs, many not having a clue what to do with them. Charlene Smith of Tupelo said she used to throw her old medicine in the trash or just let it sit in the cabinet because she didn’t know how to properly dispose of it.
“I was never sure as to what to do with old medicine so I guess I was doing all the wrong things with it,” said Smith. “I just let the stuff sit in the house until I decided its been there long enough, then I’d throw it away. But dropping it off and letting the authorities take care of it assures me that it will be disposed of correctly.”
Prescription drug abuse is one of the fastest-growing drug trends in the country and sheriffs like Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson and Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson said that has caused an increase in some crimes.
“Getting these drugs out of the reach of the public is very important,” said Dickinson. “We see people getting their homes broken into all the time by people who are only looking for drugs. A lot of times it’s their relatives who are doing it.”
Dickinson said Saturday’s drop-off did better than he expected with eight large boxes being collected. He said some of the medication was 10 years old.
Frank Hill had his home broken into last year and the only thing taken was some old medication.
“They just took some old pain pills that I had in my dresser, so I figure it was someone I knew,” Hill said. “So now I pack everything up and drop it off at the sheriff’s department now to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
When her mother died a couple of years ago from cancer, Malorie James said a lot of pain medication was left behind and the family had no idea what to do with it.
“We just has bottles and bottles of pills,” said James as she unloaded a medium-sized box of pill bottles. “So when I heard about this drug drop-off, I packed everything up and brought it in. I’ve seen people hooked on these things, so I’m just glad they will be destroyed.”