Evansville adds new tool to drug collection arsenal
Get involved in B.A.S.E.
The Building A Safer Evansville coalition meets from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on the third Friday of every month, including today, at the Evansville Police Department. The public is welcome to attend, and focus groups (for parents, high school students and junior high students) will be formed soon to assess community thoughts on problems in Evansville.
For more information, call Jennifer Braun, mentor project coordinator, at (608) 882-2299, Ext. 23.
Rock County Rx Round-up
The Rock County Health Department also will hold a prescription round-up from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 30, in three locations: Janesville Water Utility, 123 E. Delavan Drive, Janesville; Beloit Water Utility, 555 Willowbrook Road, Beloit; and Edgerton City Garage, 315 W. High St., Edgerton.
The free, confidential event collects prescription/outdated drugs for disposal. Drive-up service is available. The event is open only to Rock County residents, and businesses are excluded.
Radioactive materials, chemotherapy drugs and sharps/needles will not be accepted.
For more information, call the health department at (608) 757-5440.
Evansville Rx Drop-Off box
The prescription drug drop-off box will be available 24/7 outside the entrance to the Evansville Police Department, 10 W. Church St.
EVANSVILLE Nearly 30 percent of Evansville high school students surveyed recently said they’ve used prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription.
Still, much of the community remains in the dark about such abuse, local officials say.
Students can go to friends’ or grandparents’ homes and find drugs available in the bathroom medicine cabinet, said Jennifer Braun, mentor project coordinator for Building A Safer Evansville (B.A.S.E.) and Partners in Prevention.
“It’s the lack of awareness, and that makes it a lot more accessible,” she said.
Officials hope a new, free prescription drug collection drop-off box available 24/7 at the Evansville Police Department will help reduce the amount of drugs available in the community.
The box, which resembles a US Postal Service mailbox, is a collective effort by police, B.A.S.E. and the Rock County Health Department. It recently was installed outside the front door of the police station.
The project came together through a $600 donation from B.A.S.E., $400 from the health department and $100 in private donations.
Police Chief Scott McElroy said he thinks word is getting around because police collected several drug containers before the box was officially installed.
People are encouraged to drop off prescription or over-the-counter medications, which police will hold until the health department can properly dispose of them.
“The whole goal is to keep them out of the landfill, keep them out of the well water and keep them out of the hands of kids and make sure they’re properly disposed of,” McElroy said.
Video surveillance will be set up soon to prevent vandalism. McElroy said video wouldn’t need to be monitored unless the box is criminally damaged.
Evansville follows Milton as the second site in Rock County to have a 24/7 drop box, health officer Karen Cain said. Janesville and Edgerton also are in the process of starting programs, and Beloit also is starting to look into it, she said.
The health department’s intermittent one-day drug collections have grown by leaps and bounds since the program started in 2006, when 288 pounds were collected, Cain said.
Last year, the county collected 5,873 pounds.
In Evansville, 27.8 percent of 10th-and 12th-grade students reported prescription drug use without a doctor’s prescription, according to the 2009 Evansville Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
The survey also showed nearly 16 percent of students said they used over-the-counter drugs to get high, Braun said.
The survey only had two questions about prescription/over-the-counter drug use, she said, but organizers hope to add more questions when the survey is given again this fall.
About 50 community members gathered at a town supper B.A.S.E. hosted last month, and Braun said many of the guests hadn’t realized how large an issue prescription drug abuse is.
Braun thinks the new drop box in Evansville “will really get the older drugs out and also raise awareness.”