Sheriff Matt Robertson wants to help put a lid on the opioid issue in Staunton. It’s an issue across the country but he has seen it ruin people’s lives right in town. On Tuesday, the sheriff opened the newest tactic in combating the opioid crisis.
Robertson held an opening ceremony for the second prescription drop off box in Staunton, which was installed in the courthouse so people can come in anonymously and toss their expired or unused drugs.
Vice Mayor Mark Robertson, who is Sheriff Robertson’s brother, Council member Amy Darby and Council member Steve Claffey attended and members of different departments and organizations, including the drug court and Blue Ridge Community Services, for the ribbon cutting ceremony.
According to Robertson, there is only one other prescription drop box in the city and he said that having a location in central downtown at the courthouse allows for easy accessibility for people who want to get rid of their prescriptions – whether it’s opioids, expired medication or even drugs for animals.
One of the dangerous possibilities of keeping drugs in the house is that other family members may be able to access them who don’t need them, which could start a cycle of dependency and addiction, Robertson said. By throwing out drugs right away, it eliminates the possibility of different people getting their hands on them.
Other times, a family member using medication passes away and those cleaning up the house find the pain pills, Robertson said, which is another avenue of accessibility.
“Being addicted to drugs is a horrible thing. And I’ve through my years of of service, you know, it’s a devastating effect on people, you know, and it ruins people’s lives. I’ve seen people that were very successful end up with nothing more because of drugs,” Robertson said during an interview about the opening ceremony.
All drugs dropped into the box will be destroyed, Robertson said, after obtaining a court order permitting it from a judge, which is standard procedure. Only Robertson and his chief deputy will have a key to the box and will make stops to remove content from the box, log it and have it destroyed.
“Anything we can do to get opioids off the street and out of people’s homes so that it’s less of a chance for somebody to get hold of them is a win,” Robertson said.
After speaking to the audience, Mark Robertson spoke about his experience as a pharmacist and being on the other end of managing prescriptions from law enforcement – instead of taking them from people, he gives it to them.
“You always wonder, ‘where is it going to end up?'” Robertson said. “And you can only hope and pray that it’s being used for exactly what it was intended for.”
Robertson brought along an old prescription he had in his cabinet from a dental procedure that had expired, which was the first deposit into the drop box.
The drop box is anonymous, free of charge and open for public use at the downtown Staunton Courthouse at 113 East Beverley Street, Staunton, Virginia.