Drug take-back boxes a success

The Belmont County Drug Task Force has collected more than 150 pounds of prescription medication since the October when the drug-permanent take-back boxes were first installed.

The Drug Task Force installed four steel boxes at Bridgeport Police Station, Bethesda Police Station, St. Clairsville Police Station and Barnesville Police Station.

“I am very pleased and excited for this response to the boxes and that people in the communities are taking advantage of these boxes,” said Drug Task Force Commander John McFarland. “We will take the medication to a location in the Ohio Valley that will destroy it.”

The permanent take-back boxes also have a slot for needles and syringes. The Drug Task Force also collected enough to fill a three gallon bucket.

The boxes were created by the Industrial Trades and Contract Training at Belmont College. They are currently working on five more boxes which will go to Shadyside, Powhatan, Bellaire, Ferry and the sheriff’s office. They should be done in 6 to 8 weeks and are already funded. These boxes have to be inside.

“A lot of thefts and burglaries through out the county are people trying to fund their drug addiction and prescription medication is a target of the thefts,” said McFarland. “Having these boxes is a great benefit to the county.”

The idea for this first came about when Martins Ferry Police Chief and Drug Task Force Commander John McFarland and Martins Ferry Safety Director Bill Suto were discussing the current government issued boxes for the annual drug take back days. The issued box was in fact a cardboard box.

“When we had those drug take back days, our box would normally be filled,” said McFarland. “With the problems we are having in the world today, the problems with prescription drug abuse and drug abuse in general, we thought what a good idea it would be to have a permanent box set up where people could bring their unused and unwanted prescription drugs and drop them off at any time.”

After several phone calls were made by Suto, he eventually came into contact Dirk DeCoy, the Director of Industrial Trades and Contract Training at Belmont College. Suto told DeCoy what they had in mind as far as a permanent drug take back box and Belmont College was on board. The boxes were made by the Welding Capstone Class last year and took over a 14 week period to create.

Any type of drugs can be dropped into the box and will be emptied by a member of the Drug Task Force. The drugs will be then be destroyed.