Delco takes its Heroin Task Force on the Road

Delaware County Council, District Attorney and Heroin Task Force unveil the "Delco Mobile Drug Collection Unit"


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Delaware County Council, the District Attorney and the Delaware County Heroin Task Force are taking their efforts to remove dangerous prescription drugs and combat heroin use on the road.

District Attorney Jack Whelan and Councilman Dave White, co-chairs of the Delaware County Heroin Task Force were joined by members of the Heroin Task Force on June 23, in the front of the Delaware County Courthouse in Media to unveil the new Delco Drug Collection Van and mobile drug drop boxes which are part of the Heroin Task Force Mobile Drug Collection Unit that is going out in the community to help safely remove dangerous drugs from homes.

The CDC estimates that 89 people die every day from an opioid-related overdose in the U.S., and Pennsylvania is among the highest incidence areas for opioid-related abuse and overdose So far 2017, Delaware County has had 101 drug-related deaths, with 91 of those deaths being opioid-related.

"Since forming the Heroin Task Force in September 2012, we've learned about the drugs that lead to heroin use, particularly opioid pain relievers. This new mobile collection provides another way to get unwanted medications out of our homes we can reduce the number of pills that may get into the wrong hands and prevent addiction," said Councilman Dave White.

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 Jack Whelan. "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, including a drug collection at the Springfield and Marple's National Night Out on August 1 from 6-8 pm, and at various summer concert series at Rose Tree Park including next week's Audra McLaughlin performance on June 29.

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 15,560 pounds of prescription drugs have been collected through the program which provides a convenient and environmentally responsible prescription drug disposal option for the residents.

County officials are working the health-systems to install drug drop boxes at area hospitals. Drug drop boxes are currently located at Crozer-Keystone Medical Center and Riddle Hospital. Officials are also working with anchor provides to expand access to treatment. Earlier this year, 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. For more information and a list of drug drop locations near you, visit www.delcoHTF.org.


Upcoming Mobile Drug Drop Box Collection Events

June 29, 6:00-8:00 pm
Delco Summer Concert Series/Audra McLaughlin
Location: Rose Tree Park
1671 N Providence Rd, Media, PA 19063

July 3, 6:00-8:00 pm (rain date July 5th)
Upper Darby July 4th Fireworks Sponsored by Mayor Tom Micozzie and Upper Darby Council Upper Darby High School Memorial Stadium
601 N. Lansdowne Ave.
Drexel Hill PA 19026

July 15, 9:00 am-3:00 pm
Giant Pharmacy, Springfield
721 W Sproul Rd
Springfield, PA 19064

July 27, 6:00-8:00 pm
Delco Summer Concert Series/Jimmy & the Parrots
Location: Rose Tree Park
1671 N Providence Rd, Media, PA 19063

August 1, 6:00-8:00 pm
Springfield Township National Night Out
Springfield County Club Parking Lot
400 W Sproul Rd, Springfield, PA 19064

August 1, 5:00-8:00 pm
Marple Township National Night Out
10 N Malin Rd, Broomall, PA 19008

August 13, 6:00-8:00 pm
Delco Summer Concert Series/Music of Eric Clapton performed by The Core
Location: Rose Tree Park
1671 N Providence Rd, Media, PA 19063




Announcing the Delco Mobile Drug Collection Van

District Attorney Jack Whelan and Councilman Dave White, Co-Chairs of the Delaware County Heroin Task Force were joined by members of the Heroin Task Force on June 23, in the front of the Delaware County Courthouse in Media to unveil the new Delco Drug Collection Van and Mobile Drug Drop Boxes which are going out into the community to help safely remove dangerous drugs from homes. As part of the Task Force's mission to prevent the abuse of prescription drug the van will be at various upcoming community events, including a drug collection at the Springfield and Marple's National Night Out on August 1 from 6-8 pm, and at the Summer Concerts at Rose Tree Park on June 29, July 27 and August 13. Organizations, businesses and municipal leaders in Delaware County can schedule this van free of charge by calling: 610-891-7869. For more information and a list of drug drop locations visit: www.delcoHTF.org.

Members of the Delaware County Task Force, from left: Ray McKinney, Delaware County Senior Medical Advisor Dr. George Avetian, Criminal Investigation Division Chief Joe Ryan, Delaware County Sheriff Mary McFall Hopper, District Attorney Jack Whelan, Councilman Mike Culp, Councilman Dave White and Delaware County Executive Director Marianne Grace