Ferndale police partner to collect, dispose of unwanted opioids

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published February 7, 2018

 The Ferndale Police Department and the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities have partnered for a new program in which the police will pick up unused or unwanted prescription drugs and opioids. The department has had a dropbox in its lobby for over a year for people to bring in medications.

The Ferndale Police Department and the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities have partnered for a new program in which the police will pick up unused or unwanted prescription drugs and opioids. The department has had a dropbox in its lobby for over a year for people to bring in medications.

Photo provided by Baron Brown

FERNDALE — The Ferndale Police Department and the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities have partnered to begin a new program that aims to dispose of unused or unwanted prescription drugs and opioids.

Called Prescription Drug Disposal Squared, or PD², the program involves the FPD going to people’s homes in the city to pick up the prescription drugs to be disposed of safely. It started at the beginning of February.

The Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities is an Oakland County organization that looks to strengthen collaborations with community partners and to organize efforts to promote a healthier county through prevention, recovery and support, according to its Facebook page.

Sgt. Baron Brown said that for over a year, the department has had a dropbox in its lobby for people to bring unused prescription medications. He estimated that they’ve collected more than 1,000 pounds of medications during that time.

“It fills up quite regularly, and it’s taken thousands and thousands of prescription meds out of people’s houses into a proper venue to be properly disposed of,” he said. “We’re gonna extend that to include any homebound Ferndale residents that can’t get up here to use the dropbox. We’re gonna keep a list and visit them on a monthly basis, and we will pick up their medications from them and dispose of them in our dropbox in the lobby.”

The program also will involve the department dropping off Deterra Drug Deactivation System bags, which allow people to deactivate prescription drugs at their home and safely dispose of them.

“We’re gonna leave them Deterra bags, which is a pouch that you can put unwanted and expired prescription medications into, add water, and through a chemical reaction, it makes those medications inert,” Brown said. “They’ll have a neutral effect on the environment, and you can just throw them in the trash. So our hope is that as part of this process that people learn how to dispose of meds properly on their own, and that those who need a little help know that we can help them, if needed.”

Brown himself will be taking the calls, visiting residents and leaving them Deterra bags. 

ACHC CEO Julie Brenner said the organization has been partnering with the FPD for a while now, since they purchased its medication dropbox a couple of years ago. Their aim is to empower law enforcement personnel to get prescription drugs off people’s shelves safely and have them not end up in waterways. 

“The Prescription Drug Disposal partnership is really a reaction to that and the local Ferndale Police Department wanting to do more,” she said. “One of the things we’ve provided are these personal disposal kits, which is called Deterra, and we do provide all of our coalitions with those.

“(The FPD) wanted to heighten their efforts by being able to provide that for people that are unable to leave their homes and are homebound, whether it’s because of health issues or snow or whatever it could be,” Brenner continued.

Brenner said the ACHC will continue to provide the Deterra bags as needed for the department.

“This just made a lot of sense, in terms of providing yet another tool to battle this prescription drug epidemic,” she said of the partnership.

Brown said the goal is to get those prescription drugs and opioids off the street and out of people’s houses.

“The statistics tell us that a lot of people with substance abuse are getting those substances from their relatives’ and their friends’ house, and if we can get those unused and unwanted drugs out of those houses, it kind of helps break that chain,” he said.

Residents can contact the Ferndale Police Department at (248) 541-3650 for more information on the program.