Cherokee Nation donates prescription drop-off boxes to six towns

BY STAFF REPORTS
06/07/2019 02:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation has donated six prescription drug drop-off boxes to six municipalities as part of a grant that Environmental Programs received from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The six boxes will be given to Claremore, Nowata, Pryor, Sallisaw, Tahlequah and Vinita. City officials will place the boxes at a designated location and will be responsible for the collection and disposal of medications. The partnership with local communities in placing the drop-boxes is part of the tribe’s effort in addressing the opioid crisis.

“The Cherokee Nation remains committed to combatting the opioid epidemic. This is another example of the tribe identifying and utilizing resources to provide an avenue for the public to dispose of dangerous medications safely, so that they are not misused,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “I commend Secretary of Natural Resources Sara Hill and her Environmental Programs team for their work in obtaining this grant and providing much-needed resources for our local communities.”

The tribe branded each box with its respective city seal or logo and placed the message “Improper disposal of your unused, expired and unwanted medicines can harm people, fish and wildlife” on each box.

“Improperly disposed of medications can have such a negative impact on our lives and environment,” Hill said. “We were excited to receive this grant and partner with local communities to place prescription drug drop-off boxes, because it not only helps prevent the misuse or abuse of prescriptions, but also helps prevent the medications from being disposed of improperly and impacting our wildlife and fish in a negative manner.”

In addition to purchasing and donating the prescription drug drop-off boxes, Environmental Programs used grant funds to conduct seven household hazardous waste community collection events. The tribe has hosted events in Claremore, Grove, Nowata, Sallisaw, Tahlequah and Vinita. The Pryor event was scheduled for June 8.

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