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Drug Take-Back Evolves to Drug Destruction Program in Parsons with Help from Parsons Rotary Club


The Parsons Rotary Club has been working with the City of Parsons on a new three-point strategy to destroy unused prescription medicines as well as illegal drugs in the community.

The Parsons Rotary Club has donated a state-of-the-art Project SMART Drug Destruction Kiosk to be placed in the Police Department Lobby at 217 North Central. Citizens can deposit pills, powders, liquids into the kiosk and the drugs are immediately render inactive. This process is different than the previous Drug Take Back Bin which required police to inventory, track, and then incinerate to DEA standards the drugs that were turned in.

The SMART Program is concerned with reducing the amount of unused and expired narcotics as well as illegal drugs that are often times flushed down a toilet and make their way to the sewage treatment plant and back into the environment.

The SMART Kiosk will allow citizens to remove unwanted/unused opioid medication from misuse and additionally to remove all other pharmaceutical compounds from being trashed or flushed preventing continued buildup of these forever compounds in our drinking water.

"The charcoal formulation in the kiosk breaks down what is deposited into the kiosk and renders it inert," says Parsons Detective Lieutenant Sherri McGuire. "Once the kiosk container is full the police department will send it to a facility in Arkansas to be incinerated. The SMART Program then sends the police department a new kiosk container."

According to Parsons Rotary President Glenn Fisher, "This partnership is very important because the opioid epidemic and the amount of unused or unwanted drugs sitting in home medicine cabinets is not going to go away anytime soon."

Dr. Craig Newland of Eye Care Associates of Parsons has been the Chairperson of the Rotary Committee working on the drug destruction program in partnership with the City of Parsons and the Parsons Police Department.

Project SMART was developed for Rotary Clubs by Rotary Action Group-Addiction Prevention, North America.

According to Larry Kenemore, a Rotarian, and the North American Chapter Leader for the Rotary Action Group for Addiction Prevention (RAG-AP), "we want to put a kiosk for drug destruction in every city across the United States. It is great to see that the Parsons Rotary and the police department are the leaders for this program in Kansas." Kenemore traveled to Parsons for this unveiling event.

The kiosk is just a first step in the new partnership with the Parsons Police. The Rotary Club is working with law enforcement to offer free Naloxone training and Naloxone kits not just to first responders but community members. "In this day and age," said Parsons Police Chief, "it is about first aid/CPR/AED and Naloxone training. The approach is turning high school students, workers, and community members into de facto first responders."

In the Spring and Summer, the Parsons Police Department in partnership with the Parsons Rotary Club will train 1st Responders and city workers with Naloxone. Then the plan is to provide training to staff in the K-12 system, staff at Labette Community College (LCC) and employers who want the training for their employees. The training is quick and direct, taking just an hour of classroom training. People who attend are given kits to take home and asked to report when they use one so the action group can track the impact.

The City is finalizing a Request for Proposals (RFP) to implement a city ordinance that was brought forward by the Parsons Rotary Club last year. The ordinance takes advantage of settlements that big pharma entered into as part of national court settlements involving opioid distribution and the resulting abuse of these narcotics in recent years.

The RFP will result in the City Commission awarding of a contract later this year that will supply every residence in Parsons with a drug destruction kit. Old, expired, or unused prescription drugs or illegal drugs go into the kit and are instantly neutralized. There will be a pre-paid return mailer for the waste to be sent to the vendor for disposal. Then a new kit will be returned to the resident by mail.

"There is no cost to the City," said Kenemore, "in fact the City will bill Big Pharma for paperwork processing and data tracking. Those funds will come from the court settlement which set up this community outreach program which Rotary is supporting nationwide."

Parsons Mayor Eric Strait says, "not only will this kiosk be a great convenience to citizens, it will keep medications out of the hands of children, and it also prevents tainting the drinking water which can occur when people flush pills and medicines down the toilet." Strait also said that "the new kiosk is safer for Parsons Police Officers compared to the old drop off box that had an opening similar to a mailbox."

This initiative as well as the police department expanding its 1st responder medical training and in deploying Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) in patrol cars later this year is part of a strategic vision to enhance the level of service to the Parsons community. "This is all another step forward in our agency embracing our philosophy of Guardianship Policing," said Spinks.

Group Picture for Kiosk

Drug Kiosk