The drug problem may never be eliminated completely, but for individuals who are addicted to drugs and use syringes, there is a location for those dirty needles to be dropped safely, with no questions asked -- at the Points Drop Box.
One year and six containers of needles later, the box is being used.
The Points Drop Box was an idea Massac County Sheriff Ted Holder had after receiving an increasing number of calls from citizens finding needles on their property, sidewalks, streets and playgrounds. Last year, when the Points Drop Box was launched, Holder explained how law enforcement has seen a dramatic increase in the number of addicts using needles and, sadly, sharing needles.
Holder said he had gotten a call from a woman who had found a needle in her yard. He went to pick it up and after returning, as he walked through the front door and saw the P2D2 collection bin in the lobby, he had the idea about a collection bin for the dirty needles.
Holder checked with the state's attorney regarding the legal and liability issues and talked to other law enforcement agencies about the idea and they all agreed, it was a good idea, but wondered if people would use it. "I started asking inmates their opinion, and to my surprise, most thought that it would work," said Holder.
In January 2018, Dispatcher Abbey Kaylor and Sheriff's Deputy Summer Clapp were at a Massac County Drug Awareness Coalition (MCDAC) meeting and presented Holder's idea to the group. Johnathan Oberholz, from the Southern Illinois Enforcement Group and Illinois National Guard Counterdrug, was at the same meeting and said he had an old mailbox he would donate.
Oberholz and Sgt Travis Crossland delivered the box last March. After Massac Memorial Hospital (MMH) maintenance workers made some modifications to the mailbox to make it safe for needles to be dropped and painting the box, it was ready for use.
Robbin McDaniel, representing MMH, was also at the meeting in January 2018 and helped arrange for the needles from the Points Drop Box to be picked up by the same company which picks up the hospital's needles.
"All of the people were at the right meeting at the right time and within three months, we had it together," said Holly Windhorst, director of MCDAC, adding, "MCDAC brings representatives from all sectors of the community together for a meeting once per month. I think the Points Drop shows that MCDAC is important because one agency came to the meeting with a need/idea, and two other agencies were able to quickly provide what was needed to make the idea a reality."
According to Massac County Sheriff's Office Investigator Chad Kaylor, there seems to be an increase in the use of syringes, and there are more arrests for syringe use versus meth pipes.
Holder says in addition to single needles, they have also seen "syringe kits" being dropped off. Kits would include a spoon and rubber hose and needles. He said they have also found diabetic needles in the drop box too.
The Points Drop Box has been utilized not only by drug addicts, but also by law enforcement from Massac County Sheriff's Office and Metropolis Police Department. When county or city police officers receive calls about dirty needles, they bring them to the Points Drop Box for disposal.
The box is located just outside the Sheriff's Department front doors. It is for used needles only, and citizens can drop needles in the box with no questions asked.
"The drug problem is there, we're trying to alleviate the hazard to the public. It's a step at a time," said Clapp.
If anyone in the county finds a needle, call the Massac County Sheriff's Office at 524-2192 any time or if anyone in Metropolis finds a dirty needle or needles, they can call the Metropolis Police Department any time at 524-2310
The P2D2 box, which was launched in 2011 with the help of then Jefferson Elementary sixth grader Cami Horman, is still available inside the sheriff's department's lobby.
When trying to think of an idea for her Massac County Soil and Water Conservation poster, Horman had read an article about P2D2, a prescription pill and drug disposal program. Later Horman competed in the Miss Metropolis Scholarship Pageant and became the first ever Miss Metropolis Outstanding Pre-Teen and P2D2 became her platform.
She talked to Metropolis Mayor Billy McDaniel, Holder and then Massac County State's Attorney Patrick Windhorst about initiating a P2D2 program in Massac County. All of those she spoke to were on board with the idea.
The P2D2 box is available in the lobby. Anyone with expired or unused medications is urged to drop off those medications to the P2D2 box. Dropping those medications off at the sheriff's office helps keep those medicines out of the water supply.
According to the sheriff's office, since the P2D2 drop off box began in 2011, 4000 pounds of medications have been collected.
To read more about P2D2, people may visit online at www.p2d2program.org.