North St. Paul offering medicine drop box

A medicine drop box is available Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at North St. Paul City Hall. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

It’s a safer way to dispose of unused, unwanted medicine

Prescription drug abuse has been an issue for a number of years, but has really spiked since 2000, especially among young people.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, prescription medications make up 37 percent of abused drugs among high school seniors. The study also says one in nine people between the ages of 12 and 25 have used prescription medications for non-medical purposes within the past year.

In 2010, approximately 7 million persons were current users of psychotherapeutic drugs taken non-medically, including 5.1 million users abusing prescription pain relievers.

In an effort to help address this problem locally, North St. Paul city officials decided to adopt a medicine drop-off program at City Hall. Unused medications and drugs can be brought to the building and safely placed in a secure drop box. After a number of weeks, the medication is incinerated.

The box will be available for drop off Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Police Capt. Dustin Nikituk has been pleased with the success of this program, but also has a broader view of the drug -abuse issue.

“It’s across the nation in general,” he said. “The thing that’s great for the North St. Paul residents, it gives residents an option, instead of a citizen keeping them in the cabinet where the kids and family members could get at it, and leave (it open to the) potential for abuse.”

Previously, the closest locations in the east metro to dispose of unwanted medications were either downtown St. Paul or the Ramsey County government office in Shoreview.

“Because of that, we wanted to give our residents a place to bring their unused medications. There really wasn’t anything close before we did this.”

The program is sponsored and funded by the Minnesota Department of Public Health, and there will be no direct cost to North St. Paul taxpayers.

People will not be able to dispose of syringes and needles in the drop box. Nikituk said the proper way to dispose of them is in the provided syringe bin, which can be found in City Hall and many other public buildings around the area.

You can reach Tim Faklis at 651-748-7814 or at


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