Columbus -- Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine is touting a new prescription medication dropbox program launched by one pharmacy chain across the state.
DeWine visited a Columbus Walgreens store Aug. 4 to spotlight the locked metal units, set up for residents to discard unused painkillers and other medicines, as part of efforts to combat drug abuse and addiction.
"I would encourage, as we always do, all Ohioans if you have old drugs around, take a look at those, make sure they're secure," DeWine said. "If you think you're not going to use those or can't use those, bring them into a Walgreens, bring them somewhere so you can take care of the problem."
Walgreens is installing hundreds of the boxes in stores across the country, including 18 in Ohio -- mostly at locations that are open around the clock, with a mix of urban and rural stores.
The boxes are metal and are bolted to the floor in the stores' pharmacy areas. Medications are regularly collected, sealed and numbered, by a vendor for disposal.
"We're committed to making it easier for people to safely dispose of unused over-the-counter and prescription medications, including controlled substances," said Mike Arnoult, regional vice president of store and pharmacy operations for Walgreens in Ohio.
Comparable medication programs have been offered by law enforcement and other pharmacies, with additional special drop-off events during the year. But having drop boxes available throughout the year will provide an easier option for consumers who want to get rid of unused medication, Arnoult said.
"We need to make the safe disposal of medication easier, and these kiosks do just that," he said.
DeWine said Ohioans with unused medication should dispose of them properly and not leave them in their homes, where they could be accidentally or intentionally misused.
"They can be stolen, someone in the family can get them, it's just a huge, huge problem," DeWine said, adding, "Is it a good idea to keep a couple of extra pills from the end of a prescription cycle stashed for an emergency? I think the answer clearly is no."
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at email@example.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.