Calera has joined the sort of harvest that can yield great rewards.
The town now has a prescription drug drop box that is part of a statewide initiative responsible for pulling approximately 25 tons of unused medications from the public throughout its three years. It takes quite a few little pills to reach that weight.
Safe Trips for Scripts was launched by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics in 2011 to address a national issue that carries an unfortunate significance in the Sooner State. Oklahoma reportedly has the nation’s highest prescription drug abuse rate, and local authorities say opiate misuse is rampant in Bryan County.
The Calera drop box, No. 150 in the program, is white and resembles a freestanding mail receptacle. It was set up Friday at the Calera Police Department next to city hall. The front lobby is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. The box is secured and in an area monitored by a security camera.
Calera Police Chief Don Hyde said everyone who could participate is encouraged to do so. According to Hyde, having the drop box in place is a step toward the safety of children, keeping addictive drugs out of their reach and other people who could do them harm.
“Protecting our youth is what it’s all about,” Hyde said.
Teens have been known to target their parents’ current or expired prescription drugs to abuse, sell, or trade for alcohol, marijuana or other drugs, according to the OBN.
“It’s an amnesty program,” said OBN Director Darrell Weaver, wanting people to know it isn’t some sting operation to conduct drug busts. “There are no cases filed over that. What we want is to save one life by getting those medications out of cabinets.”
He also noted it is a “turnkey product,” serviced by the OBN. And a partnership with an oil company takes care of disposal in an indoor landfill at a nominal cost.
Calera pharmacist Tony Hudgins said the disposal program being at the forefront of combating prescription-drug abuse makes him proud to be from Oklahoma. He noted that people who are no longer taking a medication or those who are left to deal with medications after a loved one has passed away can take advantage of this service.
“It is very helpful to our community,” Hudgins said.
Rep. Dustin Roberts said, “This is a program you wouldn’t think about in everyday life, but it’s a great program.”
Other drop boxes are set up at Bryan County Sheriff’s Office and Durant Police Department.