The Paris Police Department has received one of 60 medical return drug collection units through the Monitor Secure and Dispose Drop Box Project being conducted by the Arkansas Department of Health.

The drug collection drop box sits in the lobby of the Paris Police Department located on East Walnut Street. The public will have access to the drop box 24 hours a day, every day, according to Paris Police Chief John O’Brien.

O’Brien said counties without a collection unit were given priority when the boxes were distributed last month. The Booneville Police Department also got one of the collection boxes.

O’Brien attended a press conference at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock in October to pick up the box that was installed inside the Paris Police Department.

Working much like a mail box, medication is placed into a tray and once shut, the drugs fall into a collection tub that is emptied weekly, O’Brien said.

Although unused prescription medications, over the counter medications, prescription patches, prescription ointments, vitamins, samples, pet medications and prescription creams, not everything is accepted. Excluded for collection are hydrogen peroxide, thermometers, sharps (needles), inhalers, aerosol cans, medicines from businesses or clinics and non-prescription ointments.

O’Brien said that controlled substances can also be deposited in the box, no questions asked.

When the box is emptied weekly, an officer will separate non-controlled and controlled substances, weights are logged, amounts are tabulated and all material is placed into a locked evidence room. The police department will then do a destruction order and get rid of it properly obeying the guidelines of the Arkansas Department of Health or the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, O’Brien said.

"An inventory will be kept and the drugs will be turned over to the DEA quarterly and DEA will incinerate them," O’Brien said. "The goal is to keep these things out of the hands of people who will abuse them, keep them out of our landfills, out of the hands of children and keep them out of our waterways."