The Peters Township Police Department joined forces with four other regional police departments to conduct a large-scale drug take-back program. The program culminated on Saturday when the five departments brought their drug collections together in the PTPD parking lot.
The “Got Drugs?” initiative aimed to collect unused, unwanted and unneeded prescription medications so that they could safely be destroyed in a way that would not damage our water, land or air systems.
Over-the-counter medications and street drugs were also accepted, as were drugs in liquid form. Officers accepted anonymous drug surrenders with no questions asked and without repercussion.
After manning take-back boxes at local stores between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, police Chief Harry Fruecht and officers Evan Caruso and Jim Stevick stacked several boxes of drug surrenders in the PTPD parking lot.
Officer Mike Ledger, of the Canonsburg PD, parked in the lot and unloaded a few more boxes. Officer Mike Schidlmeier arrived next—and, the other officers helped him lug several boxes and bags from his South Strabane squad car.
Sheriff Sam Romano, of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, rolled in with contributions from his region. Police from McDonald rounded out the afternoon with their additions to the collection.
After the officers worked together to condense the collection, the result was more than 12 tightly packed take-back boxes. Chief Fruecht speculated that each box probably weighed between 20 to 50 pounds, meaning that a conservative estimate would put the total weight of the combined take-back in the ballpark of at least 250 pounds.
The first take-back in Peters Township was in September 2010, with a total of 30 pounds of drugs collected. This season’s take-back was significantly larger.
The program itself has also evolved in meaningful ways. It has increased in scale to include other police departments; broadened in scope to include the collection of liquid drugs and drugs of any type except syringes or needles; and, received greater publicity because of Chief Fruecht’s vigilant promotional efforts.
The drugs that were collected were picked up by a representative of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. She will later transport them to Ohio, where they will be weighed before they are destroyed in a medical-grade incinerator that will neither pollute the environment nor intoxicate those attending the disposal.
The incinerator will also destroy any pharmacy labels or other identifying information on drug containers—so, those who surrendered medications do not have to worry about things such as identity theft.
The PTPD has set out a dropbox that will remain in its lobby year-round so that citizens can drop off unused or unneeded drugs on a regular basis. Please note that syringes/needles should not be deposited in the dropbox.