Local News

Story published: 07-02-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Town Hall becoming hub of drug activity

By Kristen Swing
Executive Editor

The Robert E. Browning Town Hall Building has become a hub of drug activity, and leaders could not be happier.

With the help of a handful of area businesses and individuals, a drug drop box is now permanently located just inside the front entrance of the town hall facility.

Residents can drop off just about any kind of drug — from expired over-the-counter pills to unused prescription drugs — in the secure drop box for authorities to collect and discard.

“This is to stop people from disposing of them down the toilet so they get into our water system or just throwing them away and risking someone getting them from the trash,” Police Maj. Natalie Hilton said. “We collect them and they go straight to an incinerator at Eastman (Chemical Co. in Kingsport). They are burned at roughly 2,200 degrees so there is literally nothing left. There’s no ashes or anything.”

Pills can be left in their original packaging, including prescription medications since any patient information on the bottles will be destroyed along with the drugs, Hilton said.

For several years, the Jonesborough Department of Public Safety has held annual drug drop-off events to encourage residents to properly dispose of unwanted drugs. Hilton estimates 120 pounds of medications are collected each time one is held.

While the town will continue to hold such events, the drop box will be available to residents 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“It was given to us from the Johnson City Police Department,” Hilton said. “It was used so much there that they had to get a bigger one.”

Hilton hopes the drop box sees just as much success in Jonesborough as it did in its original location.

The box certainly is a welcome sight for Kent Walker, owner of Olde Town Pharmacy.

“We have two to three requests a week of people asking, ‘What can I do with my old medications?’ We need to have a proper way of disposing them,” said Walker, who helped spearhead the plan to get a drop box located somewhere in Jonesborough. “Tennessee state law does not allow a drop box at a pharmacy. So the best option is to work in concert with the police department to have this public drop box. You don’t want to leave it laying around. This gets medications out of the household.”Town Hall becoming hub of drug activity