Drug Take-Back Program Gains Momentum

Jul 9, 2015

Officer Janet Winslow collects unused medication at the West Lafayette Farmers' Market twice a year.
Credit Erica Gibson / WBAA News

The West Lafayette Police Department’s drug take-back program has seen a recent increase in the tonnage of pills it collects.  Janet Winslow, who also runs the anti-drug D.A.R.E. Office program in local schools, says the concurrent problems of prescription drug abuse and over-prescription of drugs by some doctors may prompt the Lafayette Police Department and the Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s office to create similar collection systems.

Winslow says West Lafayette’s drug take-back program began as a way to prevent teens from abusing their parents’ medication, but it also has added environmental benefits. Winslow takes the unwanted medication to Covanta Energy in Indianapolis to be destroyed, which she says is a safer alternative to the once-common practice of flushing old pills down the toilet.

"It does get into our water system, and our wastewater treatment plant cannot neutralize all of the chemicals that are flushed down our toilets," Winslow says. "So it does eventually get into our rivers, our waterways, our holding ponds, and our drinking water."

Winslow collects medication in the lobby of the West Lafayette Police Department on the second Thursday of each month and will run a booth at Riverfest in Tapawingo Park this Saturday.