March 22, 2011
Cracking down on drug abuse
Drop boxes to be placed in several locations for prescription drug disposal
Effingham Daily News
EFFINGHAM — With prescription drug abuse becoming an increasingly lethal issue in Effingham County, several organizations are banding together in an effort to get these potentially deadly drugs off the street.
Secure drop boxes will be placed in several locations for drug disposal within the next month as part of the P2D2 program. Effingham County Chief Deputy John Loy said Monday that boxes will be placed on the first floor of both the Effingham County Office Building and Effingham County Government Center, the Illinois State Police District 12 headquarters in Effingham, Altamont Municipal Building and Altamont Pharmacy.
Loy said the boxes can be put anywhere with either human or video surveillance.
“We’re still looking for locations to put them,” he said. “The drugs will be picked up by bonded couriers and then destroyed.”
Coroner Leigh Hammer said the program will hopefully lessen the incidence of prescription drug abuse cases that, sadly, turn into fatalities.
“It’s a big project,” said Hammer, who added that drugs can also be dropped off at the Effingham County Health Department.
Hammer said there have been 12 to 15 deaths in the county resulting from prescription drug abuse in the past three years. Prescription drug abuse became more widely known in the area after a combination of aggressive enforcement and legislative action dramatically reduced methamphetamine abuse in rural Illinois.
The program is being facilitated by the Effingham County Youth Ambassador program, an outgrowth of the University of Illinois Extension 4-H program. Several ambassadors appeared at Monday’s County Board meeting.
“4-H isn’t just about the animals,” said St. Anthony High School student Jesse Haarmann.
Other ambassadors appearing at Monday’s meeting included Abby Westendorf of Teutopolis, Michael Goldstein of St. Anthony and Ethan Fitzwilliam of Altamont. Westendorf thanked the board for its service to the county.
Hammer praised the group after the meeting for its work.
“I applaud them for stepping forward and taking leadership roles,” she said.