The Roundup -

New Prescription Drop Boxes and Alcohol Testing Devices Put to Action in Sidney


Stacy Brunsvold, Sarah Haines, Rachel Leininger, Nicole Hackley, undersheriff Bob Burnison, Gina Heckey, Janette McCollum, and Kay Fulkerson stand behind the prescription drug drop boxes and alcohol testing devices provided by the Foundation for Community Care Red Ribbon Week fund.(Photo by Cheyenne Wiley)

To prevent further drug and alcohol abuse in the community, Sidney's Foundation for Community Care has purchased four prescription drug drop boxes and six alcohol testing devices with leftover funds from its Red Ribbon Week account.

Bob Burnison, Richland County undersheriff, said it is all about keeping people safe.

"We really want people to utilize these [prescription drop boxes] if they have prescriptions that they quit using," he said. "If they've had a loved one that they've lost and have their prescriptions left over, this a great way of properly disposing of it all."

The goal is simply to reduce the amount of prescription drugs leftover in people's homes.

"If [prescriptions] are around, other people can have access to them, maybe a person that comes into the home or another family member," Burnison said. "We don't want people to have a lot of prescription pain meds sitting around."

One large prescription drug drop box sits in the dispatch area of the Law and Justice Center and is monitored 24/7. The other three smaller drop boxes can be found at White Drug, Shopko Pharmacy, and Sidney Health Center.

Items accepted in the drop boxes include prescription drugs, prescription ointments, prescription patches, prescription samples, over the counter medications, and pet medications. Unacceptable items are liquids, syringes/needles, inhalers, aerosols, thermometers, over the counter ointments, medical waste of any kind, hygiene items, and batteries.

The Foundation spent $619 to acquire the large prescription drop box, and the smaller boxes cost $200 each.

As for the alcohol testing devices, six were purchased with the Foundation's Red Ribbon Week fund for a total of $2,682. The sheriff's department has already put the machines to use.

"If we suspect something and pull someone over for a DUI, we can ask for a preliminary breath test from them," Burnison said. "It's not the only thing we can use for DUIs; it is just one element of it."

Before the devices were purchased, the sheriff's department only had five alcohol testers to share among all of the officers.

"We were trading them off," Burnison said. "Now I can just assign one to an officer, and he's responsible for it."

The extra alcohol testing devices could allow Richland County to adopt Montana's 24/7 sobriety program, in which those accused of their second or consecutive DUI can be ordered to adhere to twice-daily breath tests.

"When you're doing 24/7, you have to operate seven days a week, 365 days a year," Burnison said. "It's a big commitment on our part, keeping staff and everything, so we haven't done it yet. We are ready if we ever decide to."

Janette McCollum, owner of Checkers drug and alcohol testing facility, urges people in the community to continue to donate to the Foundation for Community Care's Red Ribbon Week fund.

"We want people to continue to give to this account so we can provide these kinds of things to keep our community safe," she said.

To donate, call (406) 488-2273 or visit the Foundation for Community Care at 221 2nd Street NW in Sidney.


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