MYRTLE BEACH — In an effort to combat prescription drug abuse and theft, police in Horry and Georgetown counties are partnering with federal officials to accept unwanted pills Saturday at several area locations.
Some departments, such as Myrtle Beach and Horry County, won’t participate because they accept unwanted prescription drugs anytime, officials said.
In 2011, Horry County police placed a permanent drop box outside its headquarters inside the M.L. Brown Building in Conway, Lt. Robert Kegler said.
“We have the drug drop off box now and anyone can drop their expired or not needed prescription drugs off at any time at the M.L. Brown Building,” Kegler said.
The box, a white metal container that looks similar to a mailbox, was obtained through a grant sponsored by the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators. In the first month after it was installed, officers had collected 27 pounds of drugs that were incinerated.
The box is emptied daily and the pills are inventoried as evidence, then destroyed. Dropping pills in the box is done anonymously since the box is in the hallway at the entrance to the department’s headquarters.
Any controlled substance medications, over-the-counter medicines and noncontrolled medication, vitamins and medication samples can be deposited into the box, Kegler said.
Officials ask that residents not put needles, syringes, mercury or cadmium products, biohazard items, personal care products or chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide in the box.
Area officers say they want the medications turned in to law enforcement to prevent experimentation or abuse by teens and young adults, who may find the unused prescriptions in a family member’s medicine cabinet.
Annual community drop-off events on Saturday area part of a federal initiative sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Deputies with the Georgetown County Sheriff’s office and officers with the Conway Police Department and North Myrtle Beach Police Department will host medicine drop-off day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, according to officials with those organizations.
Conway officers will be at the 1601 Church St. Walgreens location accepting unwanted, unused and expired medicines, said Lt. Selena Small, department spokeswoman.
In Georgetown, residents can take the pills to the Midway Fire Department located at 67 St. Pauls Place in Pawleys Island or the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office at 430 N. Fraser St., in Georgetown, said Carrie Cuthbertson, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office.
In North Myrtle Beach, residents can drop off their unwanted pills at in the parking lot of Wal-Mart at 550 U.S. 17 North, said Pat Dowling, city spokesman.
Also in North Myrtle Beach, state Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell and members of his staff will visit the drop off site, Dowling said.
The North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety has ranked first in the DEA’s Atlanta Division during the last three drug take back events, Dowling said. DEA officials also will assist the department.
Several previous events in North Myrtle Beach resulted in more than 111,000 doses of controlled, legend and over the counter medications being collected, Dowling said.
Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or follow her at Twitter.com/tonyaroot.