Mountainburg residents now can dispose of excess and expired prescription and over-the-counter medications by using a newly installed drop off box at the city hall.

Harbor House has partnered with the Mountainburg Police Department to establish a permanent MedReturn drug collection program in order to reduce the supply of drugs that can potentially harm teens and adults, said Mountainburg Police Chief Vincent Clamser.

"Too many teens get a hold of medications left in their grandparents medicine cabinet, or people sometimes flush them down the toilet, which is not safe for the environment," Clamser said. "This is a safe way for people to dispose of these medications."

According to the 2011 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than six million Americans abuse prescription drugs.

Among youth aged 12 to 17, 7.4 percent report past year non-medical use of prescription drugs, according to the 2011 NSDUH.

Mountainburg’s drop box was donated by Harbor House through a state grant from the Division of Behavioral Services meant for drug abuse prevention programs, said regional prevention providers Tabitha Fondren and Arielle Perry.

Prescription medication drop boxes like the one in Mountainburg are important because they help reduce easy access to prescription drugs, Fondren said.

"Something a lot of communities struggle with is non-medical prescription drug use by their youth," Fondren said.

Having a drop box that can be used easily and anonymously also is important, Fondren said.

"People feel safe when they can drop off prescription medications and don’t have to questioned," Fondren said, "and a lot of people don’t know what to do with their old drugs."

Mountainburg’s prescription drug drop box is located at the front entrance to the municipal complex at 101 U.S. 71.

Other drop boxes in Crawford County are located at the Crawford County Detention Center, Alma Police Department and Van Buren Police Department.

"Properly disposing of excess drugs is everyone’s responsibility as a matter of public safety," Clamser said. "Now Mountainburg citizens won’t have to wait for a specific take-back day to clean out their medicine cabinets. Drugs can be dropped off with no questions asked."

Along with the four year-round prescription drop boxes, the four locations and Mulberry Police Department will participate in a drug take-back event April 30, according to the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration website.