Hospital, Sheriff's office team up to fight drug abuse

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Beaufort Memorial Hospital (BMH) and the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) want to keep unused prescription drugs off of the street, and they're providing two new ways to do it.

The two organizations have announced the locations of new secure drop boxes for the safe disposal of unused prescription and non-prescription drugs in Beaufort County.

The drop boxes, located at the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office in Beaufort at 2001 Duke St. and on Hilton Head Island at 70 Shelter Cove Lane, are available to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with access at other times available by request.

The two organizations are working to identify additional locations throughout the county to expand the effort.

"We are keenly aware of the growing opioid epidemic, and we know that one of the many opportunities for abuse and accidental overdose exists in people's own homes," said Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner. "We want to provide safe, secure disposal sites for these drugs, and these drop boxes are a great place to start."

BCSO recently hosted public drug take-back events to provide community members the opportunity to get rid of unused and unwanted prescriptions. The addition of drop boxes is intended to expand the effort and encourage residents to dispose of drugs regularly, thereby reducing the risk of unintended abuse.

"Up to 90 percent of unused prescription opioids sit in unlocked cabinets and drawers, increasing the risk of abuse, distribution or accidental overdose," said BMH Chief Medical Officer Kurt Gambla, D.O. "We're working together to make it easier for community members to safely dispose of them."

The BCSO will be responsible for processing and safely disposing of unused drugs, and will provide periodic updates to the community about collection efforts. New drop-off locations will be announced in the coming months.

For more information about BMH or the BCSO, visit beaufortmemorial.org or bcso.net.

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