HARFORD COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Each year, police departments across the nation collect unwanted prescription medication.

As Mary Bubala reports, Harford County has teamed up with Maryland State Police to set up a permanent drop box.

Each year, police respond to overdoses and poisonings. Many stem from young people ingesting prescription drugs meant for an older family member or relative.

In Harford County alone, 11,000 pounds of unused medicine have been turned in over the past couple years.

“That’s over five and a half tons of medications that were properly disposed of and we have to thank the citizens. Over 3,300 citizens have participated in the past two and a half years,” said Joe Ryan, Harford Co. Drug Control Pol.

Now, Harford County is teaming up with Maryland State Police to offer a permanent drop-off box for unwanted, expired or unused prescription medications.

The new drop box is at the Bel Air Barrack.

“This box prevents these dangerous medications not only from going to a young family member–whether a child or a grandchild — it can also be environmental because it can go in our water streams,” said Harford County Executive David Craig.

“Harford County is one of the biggest drop-off sites in the state of Maryland. I want to emphasize that as a positive because of the message that’s been given out to the citizens of Harford County,” said Ed Marcinko, DEA.

Harford County’s opioid death rate is currently the fourth highest in Maryland.

Shelia Saunders says her teenage daughter was addicted to painkillers for years before the family found out and got her help. She encourages everyone to clean out their medicine cabinet and head to the drop box.

“For something like this to be here is a godsend for people to be able to get rid of their medication without having an issue. It’s scary. You don’t think it will ever happen to you but it does and she went down a long road with it,” Saunders said.

Residents can turn in any unused prescription medication at any time with no questions asked.

The unwanted medication is incinerated by the State Police.

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