Delco takes its Heroin Task Force on the Road

District Attorney and Heroin Task Force "Delco Mobile Drug Collection Unit"

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The Heroin Task Force launched the Mobile Drug Collection Unit equipped with two mobile drug drop boxes that are available upon request for community events and drug drop off events.

Studies have shown that residential supplies of pharmaceutical controlled substances – those found in our home medicine cabinets – have become the supply of choice for young people and criminals. Many abusers, a high percentage of which are teens, are known to have obtained their controlled substances from the homes of family and friends. These medications are effective when used properly, but many are highly addictive and dangerous when abused. Some individuals who misuse prescription medications, particularly teenagers, believe these substances are safer than illicit drugs because they are prescribed by a doctor or dentist, and dispensed by a pharmacist. Commonly abused medications include pain relievers such as OxyContin and Percocet.

"Prescription drugs are often the target of theft and misuse. We know that young people are becoming addicted to opioids by first taking a prescription drug which they get from medicine cabinets of their parents, their grandparents and friends," said District Attorney Katayoun Copeland. "One way to prevent addiction is to offer convenient, secure and environmentally safe drug disposal programs to decrease the supply of unused prescription drugs in the home."

As part of the Delaware County Heroin Task Force's mission to prevent the abuse of prescription drugs… abuse that can have fatal results, the county mobile drug collection unit will be at various upcoming community events. Since the Heroin Task Force was formed in September 2012, it became clear that addressing the prescription drug abuse epidemic was necessary to protect young people. Authorities learned that kids were getting these pills from the family's medicine cabinet and becoming addicted and then often turning to heroin. Bottom line, it's important to get unused, unwanted and expired prescription medications out of home medicine cabinets, and off the streets, before they fall into the wrong hands.

In addition to the mobile boxes, the county has 40 secure, permanent Medicine Drop Boxes at nearly all of the police departments and the Government Center in Media. Since 2013, more than 20,000 pounds of prescription drugs have been collected through the program which provides a convenient and environmentally responsible prescription drug disposal option for the residents.

Drug drop boxes are also located at the county’s hospitals, including Mercy-Fitzgerald, Crozer-Keystone Medical Center and Riddle Hospital. Officials are also working with anchor provides to expand access to treatment. In 2017, Delaware County worked with Crozer to launch First Steps Treatment Center. Supported by more than $940,000 in funding from Delaware County Council, Crozer opened First Steps Treatment Center, a 52-bed center at Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland, dedicated to comprehensively addressing the detoxification and rehabilitation needs of residents in Delaware County and the region.

In 2016, County Council launched the Delaware County Certified Recovery Specialist Program, which connects residents who have overdosed to treatment and resources. Three Recovery Specialists, managed by Crozer-Keystone are available to assist residents around the clock. The Recovery Specialists have engaged and outreached to over 1,000 people and averaging about 3 calls a day. Residents can reach a Certified Recovery Specialist by calling: 610-497-7278.

In addition to focusing on recovery and prevention, county officials are also emphasizing the importance of education and raising awareness among youth about the dangerous of prescription drugs. By making the mobile drug drop boxes available at community events, people now have another way to safely and anonymously dispose of drugs. Organizations, businesses and municipal leaders in Delaware County can call the Delaware County Heroin Task Force to schedule this van free of charge by calling the District Attorney's Criminal Investigation Division (CID): 610-891-7869.