THE BELMONT County Drug Task Force has made major inroads in taking illegal drugs off the streets.
The task force -- a coalition of officers from several local enforcement agencies -- has made countless arrests throughout the county. In the process, a myriad of trafficking suspects have been removed from society as well as their illegal cargo.
The task force -- under the direction of Martins Ferry Police Chief John McFarland -- is also a proactive unit. The group is also taking prescription medication out of circulation thanks to an ingenious endeavor.
Permanent drug take-back boxes have been placed in four police stations in the county. The boxes -- located in Bridgeport, Barnesville, Bethesda and St. Clairsville -- have brought in a major haul, as more than 150 pounds of prescription medication has been collected since October when the drug-permanent take-back boxes were first installed.
That is a major amount of drugs taken out of circulation. It is refreshing to see the boxes are living up to their intended purpose.
The permanent take-back boxes also have a slot for needles and syringes. The Drug Task Force also collected enough to fill a three-gallon bucket.
"I am very pleased and excited for this response to the boxes and that people in the communities are taking advantage of these boxes," said McFarland. "We will take the medication to a location in the Ohio Valley that will destroy it."
The boxes were created by the Industrial Trades and Contract Training at Belmont College. The college is currently working on five more boxes which will go to Shadyside, Powhatan, Bellaire, Ferry and the sheriff's office. They should be done in 6 to 8 weeks and are already funded.
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.
The Belmont County Drug Task Force has proven to be a crack unit in battling drug-trafficking. It is making a positive impact in making Eastern Ohio a safer and more livable venue.
In the same vain, the drug take-back boxes are also paying dividends. We commend all those who had a hand in their creation.