Lehigh County residents who have expired and unused over-the-counter and prescription medications will be able to discard those medications in permanent collection boxes now installed in 10 police departments in Lehigh County.
The boxes, similar to mailboxes, were delivered to the 10 Lehigh County police departments which applied for the boxes through a grant program made possible through the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
The Emmaus Police Department is among the departments to receive boxes.
The MedReturn boxes were provided for free to police departments submitting successful grant applications.
District Attorney James B. Martin and members of his staff worked with area police chiefs to identify departments throughout the county so there would be numerous convenient locations for county residents to drop off medications.
"County residents have responded enthusiastically to the twice yearly drug collections that have been coordinated by my office, police departments, the Pennsylvania State Police, the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration and the Allentown Health Bureau," Martin said.
A box was installed at the Emmaus Police Department, 400 Jubilee St., Emmaus, which is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
During the seventh National Take Back Day event Oct. 26, 2013, Lehigh County residents disposed of a record amount of 2,014 pounds of drugs at 17 sites including police departments, grocery stores, pharmacies and malls. In Lehigh County, the total collected during seven Take Back Days since 2010 is 6,840 pounds.
Medication collected in the new drop boxes will be incinerated in cooperation with the Berks County District Attorney's Office through the Berks County Solid Waste Management contract with an incinerator in York County, which is an authorized facility designated to perform the destruction of controlled substances.
The one-way collection boxes are bolted to the floor to prohibit removal of the boxes and retrieval of medications from within the boxes without proper authorization.
Residents can place medications in the boxes anonymously.
Signs are posted on each box informing residents of the types of items to be placed in the boxes and items not accepted. Accepted items include prescription and over-the- counter medications, samples, vitamins, prescription ointments, prescription patches and pet medications.
Items not accepted are syringes, needles, Sharps or other sharp objects, medications from businesses and clinics, lotions or liquids, aerosol cans, inhalers, hydrogen peroxide and thermometers.