THE BELMONT County Drug Task Force has done a masterful job of taking a bite out of trafficking activities in Eastern Ohio.
Task Force Commander John McFarland and his unit have removed the streets of countless drug traffickers and huge amounts of illegal drugs.
The task force now has a new ally in its never-ending drug-eradication efforts.
Newly created drug take-back boxes are being placed in nine Belmont County communities. The boxes were constructed by students in the Belmont College's welding program.
They are the brainchild of McFarland and Martins Ferry Safety Director Bill Suto. They hit upon the idea when looking for a better method than using cardboard boxes on annual drug take-back days.
"When we had those drug take-back days, our box would normally be filled," said McFarland. "With the problems we are having in the world today, the problems with prescription drug abuse and drug abuse in general, we thought what a good idea it would be to have a permanent box set up where people could bring their unused and unwanted prescription drugs and drop them off at any time."
We agree with that mode of thinking, as the drug problem is at epidemic proportions, impacting individuals of all ages.
The boxes will be either placed in the municipal buildings or in the police stations in the respective towns.
Belmont College officials are in line for commendations for their civic-minded generosity. The boxes took some 14 weeks to construct. They gained drug task force approval. The drug task force and Belmont College got a huge dose of support from area businesses. If not for the generosity of Riesbeck's, East Ohio Regional Hospital, Morristown Pharmacy and Barnesville Hospital the boxes would not have become a reality.
Any type of drugs can be dropped into the box and will be emptied by a member of the Drug Task Force. The drugs will then be destroyed.
Drug trafficking will never be totally eradicated. It is too widespread and law enforcement is handcuffed by manpower and monetary issues.
The vision and teamwork, however, displayed by the creation of the drug take-back boxes will go a long way in ensuring drugs are disposed of in a proper fashion.