- Associated Press - Sunday, August 31, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The growing number of law enforcement agencies collecting unwanted prescription drugs with drop boxes now includes the Speedway Police Department in Marion County.

The Speedway Town Council approved the drop-off site after collecting 300 pounds of pills on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in April, Town Manager Ian Nicolini told The Indianapolis Star (http://indy.st/1pxmcjQ ).

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration organizes the event twice a year.

“That showed us the need,” Nicolini said. “They are becoming increasingly common.”

Speedway Police Lt. Trent Theobald said the town doesn’t have an urgent drug problem, but the drop box seemed like a prudent move.

“Like any community, there are an abundance of unused and forgotten drugs in medicine cabinets, and it is safer to get rid of them,” Theobald said.

In recent months, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and Lawrence and Zionsville police departments have established drop boxes at their stations. Fishers has had a drop box since 2011, and Hendricks County has four boxes.

Randy Miller, executive director of Drug Free Marion County, said agencies in the county that includes Indianapolis have been slow to put in collection sites compared with the rest of the state.

Young children can find and misuse forgotten prescription drugs if they aren’t removed from a house, said Dennis Wichern, assistant special agent in charge for the DEA in Indianapolis.

Indiana has the 10th highest prescription ratio of any state, 109 per 100 residents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 13,500 children 12 and younger were exposed to prescription drugs in 2013, according to the Indiana Poison Center.

Marion County recorded 1,140 prescription drug overdose deaths from 2002 to 2011, according to the Center for Health Policy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

At the Marion County Sheriff’s Office drop box, about 300 pounds of drugs have been collected since June, said Katie Carlson, a spokeswoman.

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Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com