Prescription Drug Disposal Boxes Coming to All Four Tri-C Campuses
Campus police, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office installing boxes in response to opioid abuse crisis
The national opioid abuse crisis strengthened its hold on Cuyahoga County in 2017. Through the end of November, more than 650 county residents had died as a result of opioid overdoses — a 25 percent increase from 2016.
Even worse, the majority of overdose victims are obtaining prescription opioids — which include fentanyl, oxycodone and hydrocodone — through family, friends and other non-medical means.
“Nationally, it’s estimated that 70 percent of Americans who are misusing painkillers are getting them from family and friends,” said Lt. Thomas McMillan of Cuyahoga Community College campus police.
Many abused prescription drugs follow the same path. Originally prescribed by a doctor for legitimate use, leftover or stolen pills fall into the wrong hands. That’s why Tri-C is among the local institutions taking a proactive approach to disposing of unused prescription drugs.
By the end of January, all four Tri-C campuses will be equipped with prescription drug disposal boxes. The white metal boxes allow for the disposal of any solid medication, such as pills, capsules and skin patches.
Needles, liquids and biohazardous materials should not be disposed of in the boxes.
“We are installing these boxes to help protect our College and the community,” said McMillan, who helped spearhead the project. “We want individual community members, students, faculty and staff to have a safe place to dispose of unwanted prescription medication.”
A disposal box has already been installed in the Western Campus Galleria. Additional boxes will be installed in the student services buildings at the Eastern and Metropolitan campuses and in the Westshore Campus lobby.
The installation project is being conducted in conjunction with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office, which will be in charge of emptying the boxes and disposing of the discarded drugs.
“This is a unique opportunity for the College to combat the drug abuse epidemic,” McMillan said. “To my knowledge, we are one of the first colleges, if not the first, in the county to install drug disposal boxes. Usually, they’re located in police departments. At Tri-C, they’ll be more visible and, hopefully, more people will take advantage of them.”
January 18, 2018
Erik Cassano, 216-987-3577 or firstname.lastname@example.org