Jail launches 'big white box' program

LAWRENCEVILLE -- You can now take your drugs to jail.

The Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department has joined a statewide effort to curb the abuse of prescription drugs, as exemplified by the newest addition to its jail lobby -- the so-called "Big White Box," a collection place for unused, unwanted or expired prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Residents can now dispose of such medications 24/7 by finding the box just inside the jail's main entrance.

"The campaign goals are to keep these drugs out of the hands of children and teens, off the street, prevent overdoses and accidental poisonings and avoid environmental contamination by not throwing drugs in the toilet, sink or trash," sheriff's department spokesman Lt. Sean Smith said.

The receptacle was donated as part of a campaign by The Council on Alcohol and Drugs, which has donated a drop box to every county in Georgia that requested one. About 128 counties did so, Smith said.

Items that can be disposed of include: expired and unused prescription drugs (non-narcotics and narcotics), over-the-counter drugs, medication samples, medicated ointments or lotions, drops, inhalers, unopened Epi-pens, herbals and veterinary medications.

Needles, sharps, biohazard materials and illegal drugs should not be placed in the box.

The Gwinnett County Adult Detention Center is located at 2900 University Parkway in Lawrenceville.