The Faribualt Police Department announced this week with their most recent disposal their "Take It To The Box" program has surpassed 20,000 pounds of unwanted pharmaceuticals that have been dropped off in boxes.

In 2007 the Rice County Chemical Coalition developed a permanent medication disposal program in cooperation with local law enforcement to reduce youth access to commonly abused prescription medication.

The program has officially been in place since September 2009, according to Faribault Police. This means 10 tons of pharmaceuticals have been kept out of the hands of addicts and our water treatment system.

Under the program, which has been copied by many counties in Minnesota, collection receptacles are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In addition to safe disposal, "Take It To The Box" also promotes safe use and safe storage of medication.

Drop-off boxes are located in the lobbies of the police departments in Faribault and Northfield, and the Rice County Sheriff's office.

Lockable medicine containers are also available for purchase for home use at a reduced cost at Sterling Drug stores in Faribault and Northfield, Rice County Public Health and HealthFinders in Faribault.

In addition to reducing access to prescription drugs, the Rice County Chemical Health Coalition works with local law enforcement, emergency responders, treatment providers, pharmacies and physicians to promote the use of naloxone (Narcan).

In 2014 Steve's Law was passed by the Minnesota Legislature and signed by the governor to allow first responders to carry naloxone, a live-saving drug used to reverse opiate overdose. Steve's Law also offers protection for anyone who witnesses a drug overdose it they call 911, stay on the scene and participate in answering questions from law enforcement.

The Rice County Chemical Health Coalition (CHC) has promoted "Don't Run, Call 911" through community posters and student education in schools throughout Rice County.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency credits Rice County with starting the "Take It To The Box" campaign in the state and says many counties have adopted the idea.

Congratulations are in order for the Rice County Chemical Health Coalition and the Faribault and Northfield Police Departments and Rice County Sheriff's Department for implementing the highly successful campaign.