Sioux Falls police want to help make sure your unwanted prescription drugs don't get into the wrong hands.
Starting Friday, the department will collect unused and expired prescription drugs permanently in the lobby of the Law Enforcement Center seven days a week.
The program is based on previous drives sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Agency. In April, more than 400 pounds of pills were collected in just one day.
"It became quite obvious there was a need out there," Sioux Falls Police Chief Doug Barthel said.
Barthel said the drug box will help not only patients clear out their cabinets, but help cops keep them out of the wrong hands.
"If there is one area where we see growth and some problems is with the prescription drug abuse, especially in our youth," Barthel said.
Lewis Drug Clinical Pharmacist Sara Hicks says it's very common for patients to have extra drugs lying around their homes, particularly pain pills.
"If someone has surgery, they may get a supply and they just don't need it. After time, the pain gets better, the incision heals. A lot of times, medications change," Hicks said.
Hicks said people have tried to give unwanted drugs back to the pharmacy, but it is against the law. She admits the police department setting may deter some people from dropping off pills, but the anonymous collection is a good start.
"I think it's a good idea, so they don't get in the wrong hands," Mary Albers said.
The department's contracted a local medical waste company to dispose of the medicine.
The police department will accept any medication, including needles and chemotherapy drugs between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. each day. They are not able to dispose of liquid prescriptions.