MASON COUNTY — Officials saw greater participation, and hundreds of pounds of prescription drugs were collected, when the Mason County Drug Take Back Day was conducted Saturday.
Brittni Kaylor, Mason County Prevention Coalition coordinator, said the event was very successful at both take-back locations — the New Haven Fire Station and the Mason County Courthouse parking lot in Point Pleasant.
“We seemed to have much more participation this year over last,” Kaylor said. “In New Haven last year, we didn’t even collect half a bag. This year we collected almost two large bags full, and Point Pleasant collected the same amount.”
New Haven Recorder Roberta Hysell, who assists with the event there, said although the bags were not weighed before being taken for disposal, she estimated each bag to weigh between 50 and 60 pounds.
Hysell said she was pleased with this year’s event, agreeing with Kaylor that hardly any drugs were collected in the Bend Area last year. The recorder said many more took advantage this year, including a woman whose sister recently passed away. The woman brought in all of her sister’s medications so they could be properly disposed of.
“I am extremely pleased with the amount of community involvement and keeping the drugs off the streets and out of the hands of the wrong individuals,” Kaylor stated. “It may not seem like they’re doing much by just bringing them in, but it means more than anyone could imagine.”
Kaylor said officials also took advantage of drug take back day to hand out medication disposal bottles to individuals.
“These bottles enable residents to dispose of any unused medications at home, simply by following the directions on the box,” she said.
The bottles are provided free of charge by the Mason County Prevention Coalition. They are available at the New Haven City Building, Health Aid Pharmacy in New Haven, the Mason County Health Department in Point Pleasant, and a few other participating businesses, Kaylor added.
Saturday marked the 11th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration. Last year, Americans turned in 350 tons of drugs at more than 5,000 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,800 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 10 previous take back events, over 5.5 million pounds of pills have been disposed.
Local law enforcement officers remain at each site in Mason County during the take-back events to ensure the safety of both those who are turning in the drugs, as well as those who are manning the sites.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing who lives in Mason County.