(Dover, Del) - Medicines play an important role in treating health conditions and diseases, but they are open to abuse and improper disposal, which can harm the environment. The Division of Public Health (DPH) commends the eight local police departments who offer safe and secure medicine drug disposal at their offices. Offering secure, permanent drop boxes was a key recommendation of the Delaware Prescription Drug Task Force, a partnership between the state, Medical Society of Delaware, and community partners.

"Thank you to these eight police departments who have taken the lead on permanent, safe prescription drug disposal," said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay, co-chair of the PDAC task force. "Prescription drug abuse and misuse can lead to addiction, illegal substance use, and even an overdose. We must offer safe and anonymous avenues for medicine disposal."

Additionally, it's estimated that more than two-thirds of people who misuse prescription drugs get them from friends and family, who may be unaware that their unused medications have gone missing. And, drugs that are flushed down the toilet or otherwise improperly disposed of can contaminate groundwater. Medicine collection sites provide an opportunity for the public to drop off expired, unwanted, or unused prescription drugs and other medications to law enforcement for safe destruction.

Bring expired, unused, or unwanted medications to any of the locations listed below to ensure that they are disposed of properly. Drugs must be in a container such as a pill bottle, box, blister pack, or zip lock bag. Leave liquid medications in their original containers. No needles, aerosols, or biohazard materials may be deposited. Do not put medical equipment, batteries, syringes, or other biohazard waste into the drop-off boxes. The program is anonymous - no questions or requests for identification will be made by law enforcement personnel present.

"Being the first police department in Delaware to have permanent medicine collection drop-off boxes in the lobby of our police department ties into our commitment of being receptive to the needs of the communities that we serve and then doing something about it," said Capt. Quinton Watson, New Castle County Police Department. "Having medicine drop-off boxes in different police departments around the state is a benefit for our citizens in order for them to safely dispose of their unwanted, expired, or unused prescription medication conveniently seven days a week, 24 hours a day. I would encourage more police departments to strongly consider placing a medicine collection box at their police departments to be a part of a great community effort to dispose of unwanted, expired, or unused prescription medication."

Businesses such as medical clinics or pharmacies wishing to dispose of unwanted stock are not permitted to use these drop boxes. These DEA registrants must follow Federal Regulation 21CFR1307.21 for disposal of unwanted stock.

Permanent medication collection boxes are available at the locations listed below. Contact each site directly for collection hours, rules, and regulations.

New Castle County

Newark Police Department

220 S. Main St.

Newark, DE 19711

Phone: 302-366-7111

New Castle County Police Department

3601 N. DuPont Hwy

New Castle, DE 19720

Phone: 302-573-2800

Kent County

Camden Police Department

1783 Friends Way

Camden, DE 19934

302-697-2299

Dover Police Department

400 S. Queen St.

Dover, DE 19904

302-736-7111

Smyrna Police Department

325 W. Glenwood Ave.

Smyrna, DE 19977

Phone: 302-653-9217

Harrington Police Department

20 Mechanic St.

Harrington, DE 19952

Phone: 302-398-4493

Sussex County

Selbyville Police Department

68 W. Church St.

Selbyville, DE 19975

Phone: 302-436-5085.

Greenwood Police Department

100 W. Market St.

Greenwood, DE 19950

Phone: 302-349-4822

PDAC, chaired by Dr. Rattay and Dr. Randeep Kahlon, past president, Medical Society of Delaware, also called for the support of the PMP, increasing physician and pharmacist training, and an aggressive public outreach effort to reduce prescription drug abuse. The PDAC report is online at www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/files/pdacfinalreport2013.pdf

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, drink almost no sugary beverages.