Alpharetta leaders create new program to reduce deadly drug abuse

Alpharetta leaders hope a new program in the city will cut down on painkiller abuse.

With the help of Alpharetta’s Rotary Club, the city purchased boxes that they’ll put at fire stations and at its police headquarters.

Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik said the city leaders want people to help them empty their medicine cabinets of dangerous drugs.

While the boxes are small, the Alpharetta police hope it puts a big dent in the city’s drug problem.

Alpharetta Police Chief John Robinson said kids are getting a hold of their parent's unused medications, and in some cases, powerful painkillers.

“It’s something that unfortunately a lot of times starts in the home,” Robinson said. They get hooked on it at home experimenting with some drugs in their parent's medicine cabinet, getting it at school as well.”


Robinson and city Councilman Dan Merkel are on a task force of North Fulton leaders attacking the opioid crisis.

“Apparently there have been a lot of meetings and discussion, but as far as boots on the ground activity, we struggled,” Robinson said.

But that has changed. Merkel tasked public safety officials to find a solution, and with funding from the city’s rotary club, they have now installed drug drop-off boxes at seven locations.

“At the very least, it takes the drugs out of where they are most accessible,” Merkel said. “It allows people to take their prescription drugs out of the cabinet and dispose of them in a proper fashion. I think it is a great idea.”

Christy Hunter, a parent, said she supports any initiative to cut down on kids getting a hold of drugs.

“I think it will stop or at least slow down the issue we’re having in the community,” Hunter said.

The boxes cost about $1,000 each, and the police chief says they are bulky and secure to prevent anyone from trying to break into them to steal the drugs inside.

The police department plans to destroy the drugs that people drop off.

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