Souderton Independent - - OBITUARIES - By Bob Keeler

There’s no to­tal tally for all that’s come in so far to the pre­scrip­tion drug dropoff box at the Soud­er­ton Po­lice Depart­ment, but less than a half year af­ter the col­lec­tion box be­came avail­able, it’s ob­vi­ously be­ing used.

“Right now, I think we’re up to 14 or 15 pounds,” said Kristin Messina, project co­or­di­na­tor for the In­dian Val­ley Char­ac­ter Counts! Coali­tion.

Those are all drugs that could have got­ten out into the community and into the wrong hands, but now won’t, Char­ac­ter Counts DQG SROLFH RI­fiFLDOV VDy.

A new drop-off box was added at the Fran­co­nia Town­ship Po­lice Depart­ment Sept. 7.

“Pe­ri­od­i­cally, I will be check­ing it and when the ERx LV fiOOHG, , wLOO EH WDNLQJ it to be de­stroyed and we don’t have to worry about pre­scrip­tion medicine be­ing out on the street,” said Fran­co­nia po­lice De­tec­tive Steven Cronin.

The boxes are for the dis­posal of old, un­used or ex­pired pre­scrip­tion drugs.

“You can­not put in sy­ringes or sharp items. Noth­ing con­tain­ing blood-borne pathogens and no il­le­gal drugs,” Cronin said. “It’s for pre­scrip­tion medicines only.”

“It’s anony­mous and free,” for those mak­ing the drop-offs, Messina said. “They come in, they drop and they leave.”

The Soud­er­ton and Fran­co­nia drop-offs are among WKH fiRVW RQHV RIIHRHG LQ Mont­gomery County, Messina said.

Dropoffs at the Soud­er­ton one, which is at­tached to the out­side of the po­lice sta­tion on Sum­mit Street, can be made any time. The Fran­co­nia one, which is in the lobby of the po­lice sta­tion on Al­len­town Road, is avail­able 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon­days through Fri­days, Cronin said.

In the past, many peo­ple have sim­ply kept un­used drugs or dis­posed of the medicines in ways that aren’t en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly.

“Don’t throw it in the trash can,” Cronin said. “DRQ’W flUVK LW GRwQ WKH toi­let.”

In a sur­vey of Souder- ton Area School Dis­trict students in grades eight, 10 and 12, 67 per­cent said it would be easy for them to get pre­scrip­tion drugs, Don­naLea Pyrz, In­dian Val­ley Char­ac­ter Counts! Coali­tion pro­gram di­rec­tor, said.

“That’s a high per­cent- age,” Pyrz said. “It’s fright­en­ing.”

The sur­vey re­sults are re­ported in the Char­ac­ter Counts 2012 Stu­dent Sup­port Card.

The In­dian Val­ley Char­ac­ter Counts! Coali­tion as­sisted in get­ting both the Soud­er­ton and Fran­co­nia drop-off boxes.

Soud­er­ton Area High School se­nior Dan O’Hara raised about $1,200 for the $900 pur­chase price, plus ad­ver­tis­ing costs, for the Fran­co­nia box, Pyrz said.

O’Hara, who did the project for his se­nior project, also ob­served Mont­gomery County Drug Court and in­ter­viewed a phar­ma­cist and SAHS Prin­ci­pal Sam Varano and talked to FBI and fed­eral Drug En­force­ment Ad­min­is­tra­tion RI­fiFHRV DERUW SRHVFRLSWLRQ drug abuse.

“I’m just re­ally glad we could do a project that wRUOG EHQH­fiW WKH FRPPUnity for my se­nior project and one that will have an on­go­ing, last­ing ef­fect on the community,” O’Hara said. “I’m just glad that I could help out.”

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Satur­day, Sept. 29, the Soud­er­ton and Fran­co­nia dropoffs will also be part of the fiIWK 1DWLRQDO 3RHVFRLSWLRQ Drug Take-Back Day. Last year, more than 1.5 mil­lion pounds of drugs na­tion­wide were taken out of cir­cu­la­tion by the col­lec­tion, ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by Char­ac­ter Counts.

While the group is en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple who have un­used or ex­pired pre­scrip­tion drugs to take part in the Sept. 29 drop-off, the boxes also make it pos­si­ble to bring the drugs in any time, Messina said.

“We’re hop­ing the community re­mem­bers it’s not just once a year, but sev­eral times a year,” she said.

The boxes are avail­able to any­one, not just Soud­er­ton and Fran­co­nia res­i­dents.

A food drive for Key­stone Op­por­tu­nity Cen­ter will also be held at the Soud­er­ton po­lice sta­tion 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Satur­day, Sept. 29.

“It’s a lit­tle bit more of a community event than just bring­ing your pre­scrip­tions,” Soud­er­ton Bor­ough Coun­cil mem­ber Steven Toy said. “You’re giv­ing back to the community. That’s what it’s all about. You’re help­ing other peo­ple.”

Submitted photo

From left, Kristin Messina, In­dian Val­ley Char­ac­ter Counts! Coali­tion project co­or­di­na­tor; Dan O’Hara, a Soud­er­ton Area High School se­nior; Don­naLea Pyrz, In­dian Val­ley Char­ac­ter Counts! Coali­tion pro­gram di­rec­tor; and Fran­co­nia Town­ship Po­lice...

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