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York County take-back program destroys 4 tons of unused meds

The York County Solid Waste Authority Black Bridge Road facility including the recycling center and incinerator facility.
Monday, January 21, 2019. 
John A. Pavoncello photo

Unused medications can be harmful if found by friends and family members, but traditional methods, such as flushing or throwing them away, also can lead to safety and health hazards.

To help ensure the medications don't get into the wrong hands, the York County Solid Waste Authority is partnering with 17 area police departments to collect them through safe disposal boxes. 

Last year, the authority disposed of 4.15 tons of unused and expired medication — including illegal drugs delivered by law enforcement for destruction — through its boxes as well as community events. 

Northern York County Regional Police Department was the first to use the boxes.

Chief Mark Bentzel said in a news release that the program "enhances our ongoing efforts to eliminate drug abuse" while also providing an opportunity to educate the public about the risks.

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The Secure Medication Take-back Box Program is at no cost to the public or police. Purchased by the authority from MedReturn, the boxes "work like a mailbox," according to the release.

Once deposited, the drugs are in a locked compartment and cannot be retrieved, except by law enforcement, the release states.

Police then bring them to the authority's Manchester Township waste-to-energy facility, which uses combustion technology and air emission controls to destroy them completely — keeping them out of landfills and wastewater systems while also producing alternative energy.

Residents must remove personal information from containers before depositing their medications — or pets' medications — in the boxes. Deposits from commercial sources, such as pharmacies or hospitals, will not be accepted.

Syringes and other "sharps" are prohibited. 

Unused prescription drugs can be disposed of in the following police department lobbies from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, excluding holidays, unless otherwise noted:

  • Carroll Township 
  • York City:  6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  • Fairview Township  
  • Hanover 
  • Hellam Township 
  • Lower Windsor Township
  • Newberry Township 
  • Northeastern Regional: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m
  • Northern York County Regional 
  • Penn Township 
  • Southern Regional: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Southwestern Regional 
  • Spring Garden Township 
  • Springettsbury Township: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • West Manchester Township 
  • West York: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • York Area: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.