Delaware officials stress importance of drug drop boxes

DOVER – In the last year, seven new permanent prescription drug drop boxes have been added to the state’s existing locations, boosting the statewide count to 28, the Delaware Division of Health and Social Services said Tuesday.

There are 10 permanent drop box sites in New Castle County, seven in Kent County and 11 in Sussex County. Statewide, there are prescription drug drop boxes inside 10 pharmacies, one behavioral health center, and the remainder are located in the lobbies of town or city police agencies, according to a news release.

“Now more than ever, while people are spending more time at home and are facing a great amount of stress, it is important to properly dispose of unwanted medications,” said Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay.

“Studies show that most opioid addictions start with a prescription. These same studies show us that more than half of the people who misused these prescriptions received them from a friend or family member.

“You can save lives by simply taking your unused medications to a secure drop box location.”

According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, prescription pain reliever misuse was the second-most common form of illicit drug use in the United States. Other studies show that prescription drugs such as benzodiazepines, often used for anxiety, and stimulants also are also frequently misused, the DHSS said.

More than half of the people who misused pain relievers obtained them from a friend or family member, according to the report “Key Substance Use and Mental Health in The United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.”

The need to secure opioid prescriptions medication is even more pressing in Delaware because it has the highest rate of high-dose and long-acting/extended release opioid prescriptions written in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Medical providers have written 60.6 opioid prescriptions for every 100 Delaware residents, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Delaware also has the second-highest rate of overdose deaths in the nation, according to the CDC. In 2018, 400 people died from a drug overdose in Delaware, according to the Delaware Division of Forensic Science. Opioids were involved in 88% of the deaths, according to the NIDA.

As of Friday, 276 people are suspected to have died from a drug overdose in Delaware this year, according to the Delaware Division of Forensic Science.

Properly discarding prescription medications at secure drop box locations — particularly opioid prescriptions — can keep these medications from being stolen, misused, or out of the hands of small children and animals who may accidentally be poisoned by them.

Proper disposal at drop box locations also protects Delaware’s groundwater from contamination that occurs when medications are flushed down the toilet.

Permanent prescription drug drop box at police departments in Kent and Sussex counties include:

400 S. Queen St., Dover

325 W. Glenwood Ave., Smyrna

24 E. Sewell St., Felton

1783 Friends Way, Camden

20 Mechanic St., Harrington

400 NE Front St., Milford

68 W. Church St., Selbyville

100 W. Market St.. Greenwood

201 Central Ave., Ocean View

335 N. Race St., Georgetown

205 Mechanic St., Laurel

400 S. Pennsylvania Ave,, Delmar

307 Main St., Millsboro

Other drop box locations include:

Walgreens, 1001 Forrest Ave., Dover

SUN Behavioral Health, Delaware 21655 Biden Ave., Georgetown

Walgreens, 17239 Five Points Square, Lewes

Walgreens 22898 Sussex Highway, Seaford

CVS Pharmacy, 17229 N. Village Main Blvd., Lewes