Local high school hosts pill drop off

Posted at 6:42 AM, May 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-13 13:24:11-04

HARTLAND -- Students in Hartland are hosting a prescription drug drop off event at Arrowhead Union High School on Friday. 

Old or unused prescriptions and over the counter medications can be turned in at the school's ice arena. 
Annette LeMieux, a retired teacher who coordinates the project each year, said roughly 120 students were involved in organizing and putting on the drop off event, which runs until 6:30 p.m. 
"Being able to plan the whole thing gives them true ownership of it, and a passion for why we do it," LeMieux said. 
"It's kind of cool. I'm excited," said student Sonja Tomasicyk, who was working at the drop off site on Friday morning. "I definitely feel like I'm doing something good for the community." 
LeMieux said turning drugs in at the drop off site ensures they're not thrown in the garbage or flushed down the toilet, which can cause them to eventually end up in the soil or groundwater. 
"Everyone feels better about the fact that they're disposing of these things properly," she said. 
Hartland Police Chief Robert Rosch said the drop-off, now in its sixth year, also keeps medicines out of the wrong hands. He said abuse of prescription or over the counter medicines can be a gateway to harder drugs, like heroin, especially among young people. 
"If we keep people from getting access, they don't become addicted to these things," Rosch said. 
Tracy MacDonald said she drops old and unused pills off every year just to be safe. 
"I searched my cabinets, my bathrooms, just looked at the expiration dates and grabbed everything I could," MacDonald said. 
She said she has three children who were all prescribed painkillers after getting their wisdom teeth out. 
"Word on the street is a lot of kids take leftover pills and sell them to other students," MacDonald said. "So I'm glad to just get them out of the house." 
LeMieux said pills and other medicines collected Friday will eventually be handed over to the DEA, which hauls them to an incinerator in Indiana.