Police department’s drug drop box is ‘well used’

Published 9:43 am Thursday, January 19, 2017

In the lobby of the Vicksburg Police Department stands a mailbox-shaped receptacle with a simple question, “Got Drugs?”

The police department’s drug drop box for out-of-date and unused drugs has been greeting people entering the police station for about a year, and officers say it is well used.

“People use it a lot,” said Sgt. Jeff Merritt, the department’s narcotics officer. “We clean it out once a week, and there’s always something there. People can drop off their old or unused drugs 24/7.”

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“This is something we are not required to provide, but offer it to help people dispose of their old an unused drugs the proper way,” Police Chief Walter Armstrong said.

When people keep old or unused drugs, he said, they become a danger to other members of their families. “We just had an incident a few days ago where a 4-year-old child had overdosed on some family meds,” he said.

“Drugs that are no longer used can be used can be taken by children or by criminals who break into a home and steal the drugs to use themselves or sell.

“Sometimes people dispose of drugs by flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the yard,” he said.

“That creates an environmental problem and can affect the water people drink.”

The disposal site at the police station is an extension of the department’s participation in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s drug take back program, which is held in May and October to give people the opportunity to dispose of old and unused drugs.

Like the drugs collected during the take back programs, the drugs collected from the box are removed from the containers, bagged and picked up by DEA representatives to be disposed of properly.

“We’ll accept drugs from anyone, no questions asked,” Armstrong said. “If they’re concerned about their name being on the bottle, they can scrape it off, or they can put them in a bag and drop them off; we can take anything but liquids. Bring them in and we’ll see they are disposed of properly.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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