Massac Co. Sheriff starts "no questions asked" needle drop - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Massac Co. Sheriff starts "no questions asked" needle drop

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MASSAC COUNTY, Ill. -- In an effort to combat the growing drug epidemic a southern Illinois sheriff developed a program he hopes will clean up the streets. 

Over the past eight years the Massac County Sheriff's office has collected more than 3,000 pounds of prescription medication from its drop box, keeping the drugs out of the environment and away from the wrong hands. 

"One day I walked into the office and I stared at the [box] we have for prescription meds, and I thought it would be nice if we had a box just for needles," said Sheriff Ted Holder.

He says with multiple reports a week of used needles being found on streets, sidewalks and even in parks, the department decided to try a similar drop point for needles. 

"We're hoping that this needle program will do the same thing," Holder said. "It's going to protect the lives of our citizens."

So last week the department placed a new mailbox out front where people can safely drop off needles, no questions asked.

"You got to start someplace," Holder said. "Maybe showing people we're willing to take a step here, we know that that dirty needle has got stuff in it and that's a crime, but we're willing to look the other way if you just drop it off."

Holder hopes the program, called "Points Drop", will lead to less needles laying around because those needles, used to inject drugs like heroin into one's system, often have remnants of drugs and disease.

He says the department is willing to make the tradeoff of giving amnesty for using the drop box, due to the safety concerns of loose needles.

"That's endangering my officers, it's endangering the public, but worst it's endangering the kids," Holder said. "For me the biggest fear is for a kid to pick up a needle on the playground and now he's got hepatitis."

Holder says some have expressed concerns that people will be cautious about using the box because it's at the sheriff's office with a camera looking on, but that it needed be in a place where people wouldn't try to break in.

The mailbox is open 24/7 to anyone who wants to drop needles off.

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