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Pill Drop

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By The Staff

The first Saturday of the medication dropoff saw 22 people bring old pills to a disposal site.

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Over 8,750 pills were collected, as well as many other old and unneeded medications.

The final pill dropoff will be on Saturday, July 25, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. behind the courthouse.

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Pill drop-off planned for July 18, 25

SHEPHERDSVILLE - Kenny Hardin could get one detective busy 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the fastest growing drug problem in the county - prescription pills.

Between pills being stolen from pharmacies, people shopping around among doctors to get multiple prescriptions and people taking medicine from person’s homes, Hardin said it is a quickly growing problem.

Bullitt County sheriff Donnie Tinnell would not disagree.

To combat maybe a part of the problem, sheriff’s deputy Larry Coy and Hardin, director of the Bullitt County Drug Task Force, will team up to offer an opportunity for people to properly dispose of medication they might have sitting around the house.

On Saturday, July 18, and on Saturday, July 25, Hardin and Coy will host a drive-thru medication disposal bin from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. People can simply drive down Frank E. Simon Avenue and deposit medication that is no longer needed - no questions asked.

The drugs will be counted and then burned.

“I don’t know if we’ll get two or 2,000,” Hardin said of the turnout.

The idea came about over the course of the past several months. Hardin said several individuals had talked with him about what to do with unused and unneeded medication.

The Louisville Water Co. has advised in the past to not flush the medication down the toilet or sink.

But Hardin said many people do not want a lot of old drugs sitting around the home.

He’s seen or read about similar drop-off programs in other areas and decided it would be worth a shot in Bullitt County.

People won’t even have to get out of their car as they can drive down the alley and make the deposit.

While busting up methamphetamine labs has garnered much of the media attention over the past few years, Hardin said crimes revolving around prescription pills are actually increasing at a higher rate.

In 2007, 67 individuals were arrested for prescription-related offenses. Through the first six months of 2009, that number is already at 37.

“I could have a detective work on this full-time,” said Hardin. “It’s only going to get worse.”

Part of the problem arises when a family or friend sees legal prescription drugs sitting in a home. Hardin said those drugs could suddenly be taken by a family member and used or sold. Or he has heard of guests to a home taking medication while visiting.

“Over time, people can accumulate a lot of pills,” said Hardin.

The pills are easy to sell and it is difficult to catch people, he added.

Tinnell said another problem his agency has seen comes from people who claim their prescription drugs were stolen.

Chief deputy Danny Thompson said some people would read the newspaper and look for obituaries and then rob homes for drugs.

Whenever anyone comes to report stolen prescription medication, Thompson said they must go to the drug task force for an interview. Hardin said his agency will take information and will contact doctors if they believe the items were stolen.

Some have simply left the office once finding out they must provide

information.

Tinnell said that when people visit your home, either put the drugs out of sight or make sure you check out medications prior to them leaving.

He added you should have some idea or inventory on the prescription drugs in the home.

While the number of prescription-related cases has risen, Hardin believes progress has been made.

The task force detectives have undergone several rounds of training and have talked with all the local pharmacies about safety steps that could be taken.

A new reporting system has decreased the possibility of patients who are doctor shopping as it will inform physicians of key information.

If the drug dropoff proves successful, Hardin said more could be held in the future.

To reach Frank E. Simon Avenue, travel on Highway 44 to Shepherdsville. The road runs off Highway 44 next to The Peoples Bank of Bullitt County branch on Buckman Street. The law enforcement officials will be located behind the county courthouse.