Susquehanna DA takes fight against painkillers to the streets

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BRIDGEWATER TOWNSHIP, SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Susquehanna County is taking its fight against prescription painkiller abuse to the streets.

After only three months on the job, the new Susquehanna County District Attorney unveiled a new medication collection van Thursday afternoon at the Endless Mountains Hospital near Montrose.

“Drop the Drugs.”

It’s the message written on the side of a new van which will now travel across Susquehanna County picking up people’s expired or unwanted medications.

“When you are ranked second in the state per capita in opioid deaths, that’s not something people are happy about. They’re not proud about that,” Susquehanna County DA Bob Klein said.

Over the last few years, problems with prescription medication has skyrocketed.

Because Susquehanna County is more than 800 square miles geographically having a place where people can dispose of their pills will hopefully keep them out of an addict’s hands.

“We can’t incarcerate our way out of this. It’s a community problem. It’s going to take the community to fix this,” Susquehanna County sheriff Lance Benedict said.

County officials say the new van will always be secure and under the watch of law enforcement.

Connie Schulte volunteers with the Clifford Township Ambulance Association.

She says kids popping pills at parties is dangerous.

“So many people think it won’t happen to me, I can take this, I’ll be fine, well it’s never fine! That’s a lot of the problem,” Schulte said.

Beginning next month, the new van will travel across Susquehanna County to different public events picking up pills.

Doctors say this is just one way of working towards a solution to the region’s prescription painkiller problem.

“The medical profession really has to take back control of how this is going to go and they need to be given that permission by the legislators,” Dr. Kirk Hinkley, Assistant Medical Director of the emergency room at Moses Taylor Hospital said.

The new van and everything to get it up and running has been donated by local businesses and organizations.

Susquehanna County also plans to install two permanent drug drop-boxes inside the Susquehanna County Courthouse in Montrose and the Forest City borough building in the near future.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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