First Community Disposal Day/Drug Drop Off
Thousands of pounds of drugs have been diverted from the streets and waste stream, and other materials recycled in various ways, thanks to the first Community Disposal Day and Drug Drop Off at Ohio University Lancaster Campus on Saturday, April 10.
Law enforcement officials, business and organization representatives and student volunteers collected unused and outdated prescription medications, batteries, durable medical equipment, telephone books, and other recyclables at drive-through stations arranged in the north parking lot at the Lancaster Campus. Getting drugs out of area homes was a primary motivation for the drug drop off.
“We take a report every day about stolen drugs,” said Lancaster Police Department’s Deputy Chief Don McCandlish.
Fifty vehicles drove through the drug drop off station during the first hour – more than law enforcement officials anticipated.
“We were not prepared for the volume, but we adjusted quickly,” McCandlish said. Sgt. Will Tolly, who heads the department’s community services division, deemed the event a success after that first hour. And the vehicles continued to arrive, for a total of 163 participating.
During the three-hour event the officers and their alumni and citizen volunteers collected 47,000 prescription and over-the-counter tablets (that’s five boxes of pills), 84 pounds of liquid medication, a large container of syringes and more. Lancaster Police Department property room clerk Jennifer Meadows and department volunteers logged the various substances while officers and additional volunteers emptied bottles and filled boxes. The medications will be stored in the property room until they can be properly destroyed.
Fairfield County prosecutor David Landefeld approved the police department’s special order request and provided additional funding for the officers on site.
Employees with Toxco, Inc., collected and sorted batteries – from household to automotive – into large bins for further identification, recycling and consolidation at their local plants. At the next station Interim Healthcare staff lifted wheelchairs and canes from vehicles. The durable medical equipment will be stored until requested by patients in need.
Student volunteers carried cardboard, telephone books and plastics to the recycling trailer while another group filled containers with confidential documents to be shredded. Austin Rohr, marketing coordinator for Lancaster Fairfield Community Action Recycling and Litter Prevention packed the truck with 3,500 pounds of paper.
“It was our best shredding event," Rohr said., "even at the two-hour mark it was better.”
Fairfield Federal Savings and Loan provided funds to cover the cost of shredding. WLOH radio broadcast live during the event.
Campus spokesman and event organizer Jennifer LaRue also was pleased with the business and community participation.
“This was about addressing health and safety and education" LaRue said. "Given the calls I received before the event, and comments from the people who came today … they want to get medications out of their homes, they want to recycle, and, if offered a venue, they will.”
PHOTO: Lancaster Police Department check-in drugs dropped off during the April 10 event.