HARRISBURG - A new state program allowing people to drop off unused and expired prescription drugs at police stations and other locations with no questions asked was launched Monday.

The aim of the Drug Take-Back Initiative is to dispose of these drugs safely so they don't end up in the hands of addicts or adolescents experimenting with drugs, said Gov. Tom Corbett and state officials.

"One of the best ways to avoid abuse is to dispose of them safely," Corbett said.

The program is being set up amid federal surveys showing one in five high school students have abused prescription drugs.

Another benefit of the drop-off is keeping drugs from being flushed down toilets and polluting waterways, Corbett said.

Local locations

Blue MedReturn boxes will be placed at up to 250 locations in 29 counties and will be monitored by law enforcement. A list of locations will be posted at the state Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs' (DDAP) website at www.ddap.pa.gov.

In Northumberland County, MedReturn boxes are at Coal Township Police Department, 805 W. Lynn St., Coal Township; Milton Police Department, 1 Filbert St. Milton; Mount Carmel Township Police Department, 300 Laurel St., Atlas; Mount Carmel Borough Police Department, 137 W. Fourth St., Suite 2, Mount Carmel; Shamokin Police Department, 511 N. Franklin St., Shamokin, and Sunbury Police Department, 440 Market St., Sunbury.

The Pennsylvania Commission of Crime and Delinquency received a $100,000 federal grant for the program. County DA offices will be able to apply for grants from the state. Federal regulations require that law enforcement be involved in the drop-off program, said DDAP Secretary Gary Tennis.

Prescription and counter medications, inhalers cream ointments, nasal sprays and pet medications can be dropped off at the boxes, but not intravenous solutions that are injected.

Individuals are advised to remove labels from containers and place all pills in a plastic bag.