An anonymous service aims to collect Albany County's unused or out-of-date prescription medications so they can't be abused.

Anyone can drop off unwanted prescription medications in a 'lock box' at the Albany County Detention Center, located at 420 E. Ivinson Ave. in Laramie, at any time -- no questions asked. The lock box is located in the lobby.

"The purpose of the lock box is to give people in Albany County a place where they can take their unneeded prescription drugs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," Laramie Police Chief Dale Stalder says in a press release. "These boxes are a significant addition to all our ongoing efforts to fight substance abuse across the county and in all of Wyoming."

The box has been filling up at a rate of 30-35 pounds of medication per month, according to Rick Hays of the Albany County Prevention Management Organization.

"And we hope to increase that with the Take-Back Day," coming up Saturday, Oct. 22, Hays says.

Items that can be securely dropped off at the lock box include:

  • Controlled substances (medications for pain, sleep, anxiety and ADHD)
  • Expired medications
  • Refrigerated medications
  • Open packages
  • Veterinarian-prescribed medications
  • Unsealed, over-the-counter medications
  • Vitamins
  • Medical patches or creams

Everything that's collected in the lock box is ultimately burned by law enforcement, Hays says.

Prescription drugs, as a category, represent the third most abused type of controlled substance -- behind alcohol and marijuana, but ahead of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines, according to the release from the Albany County Prevention Management Organization.

Albany County Sheriff Dave O'Malley says people don't realize most illegally-sold prescription drugs come from home medicine cabinets.

"The most important action our citizens can take to help prevent prescription drug abuse is to monitor their drugs carefully and get rid of old and unneeded drugs," O'Malley says in the release. "And with our lock box, we've made it easy for people to combat prescription drug abuse in all of Albany County."

"It's unbelievable the ways people have found to steal drugs from homes -- from taking drugs at open houses to stealing from homes while family members are away at a funeral," says Katie Keller, community prevention professional with the organization.

Most prescription drugs abused by Wyoming youths come from the medicine cabinets of friends and family, according to Keller.

Keller says keeping track of drugs, reducing the availability of drugs in the home and getting rid of unneeded drugs are the best ways to fight prescription drug abuse.

The lock box program is supported by a grant from the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police and the Prevention Management Organization of Wyoming using funding provided by the Wyoming Department of Health.