Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

June 12, 2011

A safe way to dispose of meds

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — Ever wonder how to safely dispose of all those old medications that seem to pile up in your cabinets? Not anymore as a program directed by an area tribe is making it easy in Pauls Valley and other cities.

The Take Back program through the Chickasaw Nation is now working with two local law enforcement agencies to establish sites where all legal medications can on a regular basis be dropped off and safely disposed of at a later time.

Anyone with expired or unused medications can now drop them into containers located in the annex of the Garvin County Courthouse in Pauls Valley or the lobby of the Pauls Valley Police Department, located at 400 West Paul.

Garvin County Undersheriff Jim Mullett said the idea is for the public to have easy access to one of these containers for convenient drop-off of the medications.

“Lighthorse Police got a grant to bring containers for any kind for medications to be disposed of,” Mullett said, referring to the tribal police department.

“They’re called a Take Back box. We want to work with Lighthorse on this,” he said.

“Every two or three weeks Lighthorse will come in and they’ll take the meds out and get rid of them safely.”

Mullett said the one box in the courthouse was placed in a convenient place so people could drop off the medications anytime the building is open to the public.

“There are no questions asked. Just drop them in. It’s a convenient place to bring them for destruction,” he said.

“We want people to be comfortable to bring the meds to dispose of them here or at the lobby of the Pauls Valley Police Department. This will be good for the community.”

The undersheriff also described the endeavor as something promoting more awareness about safely disposing of medications that aren’t going to be used.

“This also an awareness program; to be aware of your surroundings, what’s in your cabinets and what’s within reach of kids at your home,” he said.

PV Police Chief Mitch McGill agreed this is something that’s been needed for a long time.

“We do have one of the containers here,” McGill said.

“We invite anybody to come and use it to get rid of old or unused medications safely.”

The idea behind the program was to provide a service to those in the Chickasaw area, specifically senior citizens, said Lighthorse Assistant Police Chief George Jesse

“We felt it was needed because of the elders in the Chickasaw Nation area,” Jesse said. “Our focus was the elders.

“It also gave us another avenue to reach out to other law enforcement agencies; that we’re there to help them and work with them.”

Jesse said it really came about this past spring when the Lighthorse agency included the Take Back program in an Earth Day event held in Ada.

The response from the public was positive as in one instance an Ada grocery store brought things like old Pepto-Bismol for disposal.

“They thought that was the coolest thing in the world. This was stuff they couldn’t sell because it was old. So they brought it and it was disposed of safely,” Jesse said.

From there Lighthorse acquired a grant that pays for the containers and safe disposal of the medications through the state Bureau of Narcotics or a private source.

“It’s the best way if you want to get rid of those medications safely,” he said, adding there are around a dozen containers now at senior citizen centers in the Chickasaw Nation area, along with some at various police stations.