Prescription drug drop offs on rise

The amount of unneeded prescription drugs being dropped off for safe disposal is on the rise this year in Johnson County.

Prescription drugs can be dropped off anonymously at five locations in the county. Since 2014, nearly seven tons of drugs have been collected, and the amount being collected in 2017 is on pace to surpass 2016 at a couple of locations.

The number of drugs dropped off in Franklin at the police department and county jail is on track to increase from last year. So far, about 1,500 pounds of prescription drugs have been dropped off, compared to a total of about 1,600 pounds last year, according to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

The increase doesn’t come as a surprise, as people are becoming more aware of the hazards posed by unused prescription drugs, Johnson County Sheriff Doug Cox said.

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Prescription drugs are at risk of being stolen by friends or family members, but have also been reported stolen from vehicles as well, Cox said.

Last year, two tons of prescription drugs were collected overall in Johnson County, said Johnson County Recycling District executive director Jessie Biggerman.

Due to the drugs being an environmental hazard, it isn’t safe to throw them in the garbage or flush them. Instead, the drugs are taken to an incinerator in Indianapolis, said Mark Riley, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office evidence technician.

People can leave prescription drugs at the boxes anonymously, and the boxes are being used every day, Riley said.

On occasion, illicit drugs, such as marijuana, do end up being left in the drop boxes, Riley said.

While that isn’t the intended use of the boxes, the sheriff’s office is still able to dispose of the drugs safely, he said.

“I don’t have a problem with illegal drugs going into the boxes because that means they aren’t in the street,” Riley said.

Prescription drugs can typically be dropped off at five locations in Johnson County, but the Greenwood Police Department won’t be housing one of the drop-off boxes next year, as the department moves to the former Greenwood Middle School during renovations to its headquarters.

By the numbers

2014: 1.98 tons

2015: 2.1 tons

2016: 2.0 tons

If you go

In Johnson County, residents can freely and anonymously drop off prescription medications at four locations:

Johnson County Jail, 1091 Hospital Road, Franklin

Franklin City Police Department, 2810 N. Morton St., Franklin

Edinburgh Police Department, 200 S. Main St., Edinburgh

Whiteland Town Hall, 549 Main St., Whiteland

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2702.