Residents of Hazard and Perry County now have a new avenue to dispose of unwanted medication after the Perry County UNITE Coalition this week placed a pill disposal unit inside the Hazard Police Department.
The unit was placed just inside the department’s front door and will be accessible 24 hours a day for anyone who wants to discard their old medication, noted Hazard Police Chief Minor Allen. Once the unit is full, officials with Operation UNITE will empty the contents which will then be incinerated.
Helen Brunty chairs the UNITE Coalition in Perry County, and said this disposal unit will be a tool in combating drug abuse because it will allow people a safe alternative for disposing of their medication.
“One of the problems with drug use is that most children acquire their first medication from their own parents’ medicine cabinet,” Brunty said, adding children won’t have that access if these medicines are disposed of once they’re not needed, rather than sitting in the cabinet for a long period of time.
“Everyone here knows that we have a serious drug abuse situation,” Brunty added. “So, the more medications you can get off the street, the better the situation will be.”
Similar units are being placed in centralized locations throughout the 5th Congressional District in Kentucky, noted Dan Smoot, law enforcement director for Operation UNITE, with several already deployed in the region. While some units see more use than others, Smoot said initially it will be most important to get the word out about their presence in each county.
“If people don’t know it’s here, they don’t know to bring them (medications) in,” Smoot said. “This gives you a centralized, safe place to get rid of unused or unwanted medication.”
The Hazard Police Department is located at 800 High Street, just across from Hazard City Hall.