Since 2006 with the formation of Rush County’s solid waste district (Clean Green Rush), making and keeping the county a greener environment has been a major priority.
Director Carole Yeend has been the leadership and driving force for a number of environmental friendly events for more than 10 years. Initially, E-scrap collections were held as a means to keep electronic devices and televisions out of landfills.
Tire collections have also been held locally and more recently, semi-annual drug take back events have been held as a means to keep unwanted and outdated prescription medications from being discarded into the trash or poured down drains. In both the aforementioned cases, those medications find their way into area landfills and/or waterways polluting the water.
Rush County has two couriers-style collection drop boxes for unwanted or unneeded medications in the lobby of the Rushville Police Department (270 West 15th Street) and the Rush County Sheriff’s Department (131 East First Street). To more easily facilitate the collection (No Cost – No Questions) regarding medication and as a part of the DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back event, a local drive-through collection will be held 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 26 in the 13th Street parking lot of Rush Memorial Hospital.
The discarded medications will be secured by law enforcement personnel for proper disposal and serves as a vital reminder of public safety and public health issues.
As an added bonus, Clean Green Rush is once again sponsoring a free secure document shredding event at the drug take back collection. Shares Shredding, Inc., a sister division of our local Shares Inc. will have personnel on hand to accept confidential documents for secure shredding. The Shares Shredding Division is located in nearby Shelby County and is used by the FBI, Rush County Sheriff’s Department and other agencies as a safe and secure means to destroy sensitive documents. During the event, computers will be accepted as a means to destroy digital hard drives containing confidential digital files.
According to Yeend, it’s important to note that only computers will be accepted at the Oct. 26 collection. All other electronic devices can be disposed of at the Smiley Avenue location during tox-away events held the first Saturday of each month.
The collection is a jointly organized event with the RCSD, RPD, Clean Green Rush, Rush Memorial Hospital and Rush2Health (the county’s health coalition).
“With the present opioid crisis, we want to keep the importance of proper drug disposal top of mind. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to accidental poisonings, misuse and abuse. In the same way, it is important to securely shred confidential documents and computer hard drives to avoid identity theft,” RMH pharmacist and Rush County Health Board member Greg Pratt said.
Many of those sentiments were echoed by Rush County Sheriff’s Department Detective Randy Meek. The detective added that Rush County is no stranger to drug related deaths and problems caused by drug use.
“Rush County is not immune to the tragedy of overdose and even death from drugs. The number of calls that law enforcement answers due to overdoses has risen as has the case of residential break-ins and thefts due to addicts looking to support a drug habit,” Meek said.
Recently, 1,420 pounds of medicines and discarded medications collected locally were transported and properly disposed of by local law enforcement personnel.
“Anything we can do to make drugs unavailable is important. This Take Back Day is another easy means of disposal,” Meek said.