The Shelbyville Department of Behavioral Health & Justice Equity (BHJE) announced the department’s first harm reduction initiative – an outreach to collect 100 pounds of unused, expired, or unnecessary prescription and non-prescription drugs in 100 days.

From Wednesday, Sept. 22 through the end of the year, the department is partnering with Shelby County Coroner Brad Rund to take back 93,331 pills and tablets in Shelby County.

93,331 – that’s the number of people in America who died in 2020 from drug-related overdose, including more than two dozen Shelby County neighbors.

Eighty five percent of heroin users started down the road into addiction by abusing prescription medication, and most got those initial pills from family members’ medicine cabinets. Parents, grandparents, friends, and relatives can help prevent the deaths of 256 people every day across our country by safely returning unused, expired, and unnecessary prescription and non-prescription medications.

“Take back” boxes are available locally at CVS Pharmacy and Walmart pharmacies, in the lobby of the Shelby County, Indiana Sheriff Department/Shelbyville Police Department Indiana (Shelby County 911), and at the Coroner’s office.

MedWorks pharmacy has committed to having a box installed by the end of the month, thanks to the diligence of Coroner Rund and County Council member Ryan Claxton.

Additionally, the department is partnering with Murphy Parks Funeral Service to collect medications from deceased loved ones, and Blue Ridge Christian Church and Shelbyville Trinity UMC will provide information and mail-in take back bags at their houses of worship. Shelby Senior Services, Inc., The Horizon Center is partnering by running an ad in their October newsletter and will have department staff talk directly to seniors about the importance of this issue.

Take back envelopes are also available in the BHJE office at City Hall, second floor, and at the Coroner’s office. The Coroner will also continue his efforts to remove prescriptions from the homes of those who die in Shelby County and where his office is called to respond.

Drug take back also has a positive environmental impact. Wastewater treatment plants aren’t designed to remove medications from water, so medicines flushed down the toilet eventually end up in the environment. Disposal via take back protects our Big Blue River and the plants, animals, and people who depend on it for survival and recreation.

Anyone wishing to join the efforts can contact Director Michael Daniels at 317-398-6624 or via mdaniels@cityofshelbyvillein.com.