July 6, 2018
The Lincoln Police and Logan County Sheriff Departments were on hand Friday to witness the first burn of a new drug incinerator used to dispose of dangerous unused medicine in the area.
Lincoln Police Chief Paul Adams said his department has collected over 100 pounds of pills and it was time to dispose of the meds.
"We estimate it will take about 20 minutes to burn," said Adams.
The idea to purchase an incinerator was the result of LPD working with the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital Foundation, who facilitates the Community Health Collaborative, which formed the Opioid Task Force. After a meeting, Adams started exploring what other communities were doing to curb the crime of people stealing prescription drugs from family and friends.
He found his answer from Princeton Police Chief Tom Root, who had already purchased an incinerator for drug disposal in his community. Root told Adams the incinerator operates at up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
"It burns the material down to a dust and simply destroys any active agent in the meds," said Adams.
Michael Fruge, the evidence custodian for LPD, was loading the incinerator with bags of narcotics that had been collected from the community, as well as drug seizures by police.
"You have to watch how much you put inside the incinerator because, like when you are burning a magazine, it needs the air to burn," said Fruge.
The metal furnace cost approximately $9,900 and was created by Larry Lewis, with Lewis Repair and Manufacturing, Inc. from Cedar, Iowa. The business builds incinerators for use with large agricultural animals and poultry.
The machine is powered by diesel fuel and has a 50 gallon tank attached to the machine.
Officer Christy Fruge warned the public that the department can not collect medication in a liquid or salve form.
"We encourage people to mix those items with either coffee grounds or kitty liter and then throw it away," she said.
Adams said the public will be able to find a new drug drop off container at the new police headquarters, which will host an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 11 at 710 Fifth Street in Lincoln.
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