Cherokee Nation donates prescription drop-off boxes to six towns

May 31, 2019

(L-R) Cherokee Nation Environmental Specialist Jason White, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Secretary of Natural Resources Sara Hill, Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Environmental Specialist Chelsea Jones.(L-R) Cherokee Nation Environmental Specialist Jason White, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Secretary of Natural Resources Sara Hill, Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Environmental Specialist Chelsea Jones.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - The Cherokee Nation is donating six prescription drug drop-off boxes to six municipalities as part of a grant that Environmental Programs received from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The six large boxes will be given to the cities of Claremore, Nowata, Pryor, Sallisaw, Tahlequah and Vinita. City officials will place the boxes at a designated location and will be responsible for the collection and disposal of medications.The partnership with local communities in placing the drop-boxes is part of the tribe's overall effort in addressing the opioid crisis.

“The Cherokee Nation remains committed to combatting the opioid epidemic. This is another example of the tribe identifying and utilizing resources to provide an avenue for the public to dispose of dangerous medications safely, so that they are not misused,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “I commend Secretary of Natural Resources Sara Hill and her Environmental Programs team for their work in obtaining this grant and providing much-needed resources for our local communities.”

The tribe branded each box with its respective city seal or logo and placed the message “Improper disposal of your unused, expired and unwanted medicines can harm people, fish and wildlife” on each box.

“Improperly disposed of medications can have such a negative impact on our lives and environment,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of Natural Resources Sara Hill said. “We were excited to receive this grant and partner with local communities to place prescription drug drop-off boxes, because it not only helps prevent the misuse or abuse of prescriptions, but also helps prevent the medications from being disposed of improperly and impacting our wildlife and fish in a negative manner.”

In addition to purchasing and donating the prescription drug drop-off boxes, Environmental Programs also used grant funds to conduct seven household hazardous waste community collection events. The tribe has hosted events in Claremore, Grove, Nowata, Sallisaw, Tahlequah and Vinita. The Pryor event is scheduled for June 8.