GRAND KNIGHT DENNIS NAGORSKI of the Knights of Columbus presented Big Lake Chief of Police Joel Scharf and Becker Chief of Police Brent Baloun with a donation of prescription drug drop-boxes for each city. Along with marijuana, prescription drugs are often abused because of easy access. Keeping them out of the water system is important to protect the environment. Now our residents have a safe way to dispose of their unwanted or out-dated medications. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

KCs present police with drug drop boxes

Staff Writer
Jennifer Edwards
The Knights of Columbus from Mary of the Visitation Catholic Church in Becker and Big Lake donated almost $1,800 to purchase prescription drug drop boxes for the police departments in both cities.
Residents of either city can take their unused prescription medications and drop them in the boxes for safe disposal. 
One will be located in the hallway in front of the Becker Police Dept., says Becker Chief of Police Brent Baloun. In Big Lake, the box will be anchored to the wall in the city hall near the battery drop box, Big Lake Chief of Police Joel Scharf said.
“We have video cameras monitoring the hallway at all times. The box will be emptied every day,” he said. “This is a great thing for the people and the environment.”
Besides marijuana, prescription drugs are the most used and abused drugs in this area, the two chiefs agreed. 
“We do see other things from time to time,” said Chief Baloun. “But prescription drugs are most likely to be abused because they are readily available.”
“People forget they have them in their bathroom cabinets after they get done taking them,” said Chief Scharf. “It’s easy for kids to find them and it can start them down a very dark path.”
Disposing of unused medications by flushing them down the drain puts the water supply at risk of contamination. 
The unused medicines will be gathered up and taken to Alexandria for disposal at a federal Drug Enforcement Agency facility at their expense,
“Everything has to be weighed and reported to the MPC before it leaves here and on arrival,” Chief Scharf said. “You have to get a permit from the PCA to participate in this program.”
Besides the two prescription drug drop boxes in Becker and Big Lake, there is one at the sheriff’s office in Elk River, Chief Baloun said.
“Quick, safe disposal of these medications benefits everybody,” he said. “We are very grateful to the Knights of Columbus for their donation and to Smart Signs, who did the graphics on them.”
While any prescribed medication can be disposed of in the boxes, they are not intended for needles, syringes or hazardous materials.
“Contact CentraCare for information on how to dispose of those items,” Chief Baloun said.
While there have only been two arrests for heroin abuse in the area in recent times,  both by people passing through, abuse of the drug is on the rise in other parts of the state. 
There will be an informational lecture for law enforcement personnel, educators and anyone else interested in understanding, recognizing and preventing the spread of heroin addiction at Becker High School auditorium July 27 at 7 p.m. The program includes speakers from the DAE and a panel discussion with a question and answer session.
“It has been a goal of mine to have something like this here,” Chief Scharf said. “Now would be a good time for people to check their medicine cabinets and get rid of those old pills they just don’t need anymore.”


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