Outdated, unused prescription drugs can be dropped off Saturday at the Platte River Mall.The collection is held from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on the third Saturday of each month at the main entrance of the mall. No questions are asked.
The goal is to keep prescription drugs out of the hands of children, friends or family members who might use them outside their original intention. No needles or sharps are accepted.
Prescription drugs that are flushed down the toilet or tossed into storm sewers are thought to harm the ecosystem. Drugs that are dropped at the Mall are properly incinerated by the Nebraska State Patrol.
The amount of drugs disposed of at the annual collection day has nearly doubled from this time last year, Community Connections organizer Jayna Scharf said.
In 2013, the average collection each month in North Platte was 22.96 pounds.
So far in 2014, the monthly average is 43.3 pounds per month, thanks in part to an above average collection in January, when both newspapers in North Platte publicized the collection.
The collection effort began in April 2009 by Lincoln County residents Wendy Thompson, Wanda Cooper, Sandy Ross, Bob Lantis, Patrick O’Neil and Connie Cook. They teamed up in a Leadership Lincoln County program and agreed to tackle the prescription drug problem at the urging of Capt. Jim Parish of the Nebraska State Patrol.
The leadership team presented information about the dangers of misues of prescription drugs. They brought speakers to talk at the schools, and organized the first drug collection day in North Platte.
The Bulletin reported that effort, and the report became a leading article in a textbook published in a California State University. The textbook was reprinted twice.
The leadership team split up after 2009. Parish retired in 2013.