By SHERIDAN ROY
Through a community partnership with HQ Dumpsters & Recycling, the Southington Police Department, and the Southington Town-wide Effort to Promote Success (STEPS) coalition, an important message will be delivered to residents around Southington: “Don’t trash your stash.”
“The message behind the campaign is to encourage people to use the permanent medical drop box at the police station to get rid of unwanted or unused medications,” said STEPS member Megan Albanese. “Flushing medications or just throwing them away is not good for the environment and opens up the potential for them to end up in someone else’s hands.”
The STEPS Youth Council came up with the idea to promote the drop box, and reached out to HQ Dumpsters & Recycling to see if they would be willing to promote the campaign on two of their dump trucks if STEPS took care of any costs related.
“HQ tries to do as much as possible and we’re very active in town, so we jumped on this idea, and told them not to worry about the costs,” said HQ Dumpsters & Recycling owner Jack Perry. “We already had two new dump trucks ordered, so they gave me the logo and we said we would incorporate it into our brand.”
The two HQ dump trucks that have the STEPS logo and drop box campaign on it travel about 150 miles in town each day, mostly on side streets.
“When STEPS reached out, they gave a great presentation, and I knew this was something I believed in,” said Perry. “It’s a positive message, we’re a positive company, and we try to create community relationships in any way we possibly can.”
Each year since the implementation of the drop box at the police station, the amount of unused or unwanted medication collected has increased, said Katie Clynes from the Youth Council.
“Last year, nearly 1,200 pounds of medication were collected and removed from our community,” said Clynes. “The STEPS Youth Council addressed the escalating prescription drug epidemic with Jack Perry of HQ Dumpsters & Recycling to create a widespread solution.”
The Youth Council hope to see 2019 be the year the drop box will collect and remove the highest amount of medication yet from the community.
“Properly disposing of unused and unwanted medication protects you, your children and the entire community,” said Clynes.
After medications are dropped off at the police department, the support survey sergeant examines, weighs and documents them, then they are shipped off to Covanta Bristol, Inc. in Bristol where they are destroyed.
“We can’t thank Jack enough for teaming up with STEPS,” said Police Chief Bill Palmieri. “It takes all sorts of people coming together to be successful. This town gets things done through partnerships.”
Palmieri thanked STEPS for their willingness and ability to leverage with different sectors of the community to make things happen.
“It makes the coalition special, and it makes Southington special,” he said.
The medications drop box is located at the Southington Police Department headquarters on Lazy Lane. The drop box is intended for locals to come in and anonymously, discreetly and easily dispose of medications properly.
To learn more about the medications drop box, visit www.southingtonsteps.org/initiatives/prescription-drug-misuseabuse