The Mansfield Police Department is extending its prescription drug take-back event year-round.

The department received a National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators grant to place a prescription drug drop box at the station all year long.

The drop-off box is on the first floor of the city building in the lobby of the police department.

“The events are very helpful, but instead of having people hold on to (the prescriptions) until the next event, this allows them to get rid of it right away,” METRICH Commander Lt. Keith Porch said. “The longer it’s in the home, the more it becomes a target of potential abuse or theft.”

Community members can dispose of unwanted, expired, or unused prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications in the secure drop box during normal business hours — 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Liquids and needles are not excepted.

The box will be emptied throughout the week by lab personnel, and the box will remain under constant surveillance, Porch said.

“Mansfield and Findlay were the only two departments in the 10-county METRICH region to receive the grant,” Porch said.

In addition to the drop box, Porch said the department also will continue collecting prescriptions during the biannual prescription take-back events. The next take-back event will be in April, he said.

During last weekend’s take-back event, local law enforcement agencies received 766 pounds of medication. Richland County agencies alone collected 222 pounds.

Crawford County law enforcement collected 65 pounds. Ashland County agencies collected 84 pounds.

The Marion Police Department collected the most prescriptions of any single agency, receiving 184 pounds of prescriptions.

Originally published in the News Journal on October 31, 2013.