By Natalie Conrad
Herald Staff Writer
Residents are taking advantage of prescription disposal and new dropboxes as Clinton leads the way for Iowa.
Law enforcement collected 673 pounds of medication from this year’s Clinton County Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day and the new dropboxes are filling up fast.
“It’s so important to get these medications out of homes and away from those who could be harmed,” Clinton County Deputy Sgt. Steve Cundiff said.
While the dropboxes were just installed at the end of October, many were filled in two weeks or less. Cundiff says he has emptied the box at the sheriff’s office three times already for a total of 30 pounds so far.
“It’s been going well and it serves a really good purpose,” Cundiff said. “It’s an easily accessible way to dispose of potentially dangerous medications.”
Dropboxes are located in the lobbies of the Camanche police station, Clinton police station and DeWitt police station, in addition to the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office. Iowa American Water, the Gateway ImpACT Coalition and Clinton County law enforcement agencies partnered together to bring this new option to the county.
Clinton County is the first county in the state to offer medication disposal boxes.
“We are leading the way in Iowa and hopefully others will follow,” Gateway ImpACT Coalition Coordinator Kristin Huisenga said.
After five years of holding the clean out the cabinet event, Clinton County has collected 2,800 pounds of prescription drugs. Now that drug disposal is available year round through the boxes, administrators are considering discontinuing the event.
“There’s no use in people waiting to clean out the cabinets if they can dispose of it everyday,” Cundiff said.
While the poundage of medications dropped off at the event increased from previous years, the amount of households went down. Of the 673 pounds dropped off, 445 pounds came from Clinton.
The drugs were left by 267 vehicles and 351 households throughout the county.
“People are dropping off more individually and we’re also seeing new people each time,” Huisenga said.
Each year county officials partner with Scott County to dispose of the medications, but are currently looking into more cost-effective and environmentally safe ways to dispose of the items.