A full bag of prescription bills was deposited into a special medication drop box in the Midlothian Police Department lobby to cheers from the crowd gathered to celebrate its installation on Monday morning.

The metal box was purchased with a grant from the Texas Oklahoma High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, said Billy Seals, investigator for the Midlothian Police Department. The box is located in the lobby of the police station located at 1150 N. US Hwy 67 which is open to the public during business hours. People can drop off medications that are out of date or won't be used by the person they were prescribed to for the department to incinerate, he said.

“This will be a big help in our community,” Seals said. “It will give our citizens a place to drop of expired prescription drugs that will not ever get into the hands of our kids or people who are addicted to them.”

After marijuana and alcohol, prescription and over-the-counter drugs are the most commonly abused substances by Americans 14 and older, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Teens often access these drugs by swiping them from the family medicine cabinet. It is no longer recommended to get rid of these drugs by flushing them down the drain because of the impacts of the chemicals on the environment.

Drugs deposited in the drop box will be burned in an incinerator the Midlothian Police Department also received through the grant, Seals said.

The grant was received through a partnership between REACH Council, the Ellis County Drug-Force Coalition, the Dallas Area Drug Prevention Partnership, the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, TexOma – HIDTA and the Midlothian Police Department.

Over the last few years, REACH Council members have hosted prescription drug take back days supported by the District Attorney’s Office. Statewide, DAs are rolling back their support to encourage more communities to get drop boxes that are available throughout the year, said REACH Council executive director Tasha Taylor.

“We had people pull up and say here is three years’ worth,” she said. “This way people don't have to save it for one day.”

The council has been working for several years to get funding for the drop box, she said.

Needles, hydrogen peroxide, inhalers, aerosol cans, regular ointments, lotions, liquids, thermometers and medication from businesses or clinics are not accepted and should not be placed in the box, Seals said. Many of these items will explode in the incinerator and therefore cannot be handled by the department, he said.

Prescription patches, prescription medications, prescription ointments, over the counter medications, vitamins, samples and medications for pets are accepted.

Contact Bethany Kurtz at 469-517-1450 or email bkurtz@waxahachietx.com. Follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BethanyKurtzMidloMirror or on Twitter @bethmidlomirror.