Residents looking to dispose of expired prescription or over the counter medication can now visit the safe and secure permanent drop off at the sheriff's office.

"It's something that's going to be a value to a lot of the public," said Jim Wells County Sheriff Louie Valadez.

The Coastal Bend Council of Governments has partnered with the sheriff's office and Jim Wells County to establish the drug collection program to reduce the supply of drugs which can potentially harm children, adults and even the environment.

According to 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 6 million Americans abuse prescription drugs. Among youth who are 12 to 17 years old, 7.4 percent report past year non-medical use of prescription drugs. 

Unused pharmaceuticals in our homes are usually flushed down toilets ending up in the wastewater systems. Water treatment systems are unable to remove more pharmaceutical contaminants, which often end up in our rivers, lakes and drinking water.

The collection site is open Monday to Friday at the sheriff's office at 300 N. Cameron St. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Once the meds are collected, the DEA will pick up the drugs and destroy them.

"This will be helpful for the elderly who usually have a box full of medication," said Precinct 1 Commissioner Margie Gonzalez, COG solid waste committee member.

The collection unit was provided through a COG $2,400 grant.