Thousands Of Prescription Pills Off Oklahoma Streets

Saturday, July 25th 2009, 5:48 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

ROGERS COUNTY -- Rogers County Sheriff's Deputies are getting rid of expired prescriptions. Deputies are processing tens of thousands of expired pills.

It's all part of a community program called Operation Medicine Cabinet.

"We're getting them off the street and getting them destroyed like they should be," said Officer Lance Prout, Rogers County Sheriff's Office.

On Saturday, dozens of Claremore residents dropped off old pill boxes that have been taking up space inside the medicine cabinet.

Officer Prout says many adults want to be responsible with their meds, but don't know what to do.

"They don't want to throw them down the toilet and they don't want to just put them in the trash can," said Officer Prout.

There have been 13 drug overdose deaths in Rogers County this year. Many of them were overdoses from pharmaceutical drugs.

Of the more than 260 drug overdose deaths in metro Tulsa last year, Sheriff Scott Walton says pharmaceutical meds caused almost 90% of them.

"If you just look at the use of Lortab in the state of Oklahoma, we rank seventh in the nation," said Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton.

Officers say it's easy for kids to get their hands on pills. They say it is easier and cheaper than marijuana or alcohol.

"One of our biggest problems in the schools today, I think, is through pharmaceutical drugs," said Claremore Police Chief Mickey Perry.

Chris Rogers says he knows old pills are abused by teens, but flushing them down the toilet affects water quality.

"You just don't know what to do with them. I mean, they just sit in the house and sit there until we heard about this," said Chris Rogers, a Claremore resident.

The Rogers County Sheriff's Office collected close to 29,000 pills. They're off the streets, out of kids' hands and finally, out of the medicine cabinet. Officials say the pills will be incinerated.

The city of Claremore has set up a permanent drop-off box for old pills. That box is located at the police department.