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Forsyth County Sheriff's office disposes of drugs with incinerator purchased with drug funds

Forsyth County Sheriff’s Cpl. Matt Scott puts more wood into the Drug Terminator. (click for larger version)
July 25, 2012
FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Forsyth County Sheriff's Office performed its first official drug burn July 25 with the agency's new Drug Terminator.

The easy-to-use, smoke free incinerator designed to safely and efficiently dispose of old and confiscated drugs disposed of about 334 pounds of outdated prescription and over-the-counter medications that were turned in as a result of the Drug Take Back Program. This program began in Forsyth County in 2011 and a drop box is currently located at the South Precinct where anyone can drop off medications that are no longer being used, or are outdated.

"Statistics have shown nationwide that abuse and accidental overdoses from prescription medication is on the rise," said Ted Paxton, the county's sheriff. "The Drug Take Back Program helps to keep these prescriptions out of the wrong hands. With our new incinerator, we will be able to dispose of them more frequently and in a safer, more cost-efficient manner."

Some of the 334 pounds of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications being destroyed July 25. (click for larger version)
In addition to disposing of drugs taken in from the Drug Take Back Program, the new Drug Terminator will be used to dispose of drugs and drug paraphernalia, such as needles and pipes, that are confiscated by the Sheriff's Office.

"Once the courts issue an order releasing the drugs and the paraphernalia for destruction, we'll be utilizing the Drug Terminator to destroy them," Paxton said. "The great thing about this incinerator is that we will not have to separate the needles and pipes before destruction. Everything can go in the incinerator together."

Paxton said the Drug Terminator was purchased at a total cost of $4,250 with drug seizure funds.

Forsyth County Sheriff’s evidence custodian Jane Gilbertson and Rachel Blackwell show some of the prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications that are getting ready to be destroyed. Behind them are boxes of drugs and drug paraphernalia confiscated by law enforcement that are also being destroyed. (click for larger version)
"We will have an on-site location for destruction where we can perform destructions more often," he said. "Also, there will be no more transporting the drugs and paraphernalia to a private incinerator location where we have to make an appointment. Once we receive the court order to destroy the drugs, we can do it promptly."

There is also a cost savings. Paxton said that fewer personnel will be needed at the time of the destruction and there will be no gasoline expense for transporting the drugs to a private incinerator location.

Forsyth County is one of only five law enforcement agencies in the state that have the Drug Terminator.

Forsyth County Sheriff’s Jim Cole inserts the disposal box filled with drugs into the Drug Terminator for destruction. (click for larger version)
Other agencies include: Atlanta Police Department, Decatur County Sheriff's Office, Moultrie Police Department and the Peachtree City Police Department.

The Drug Terminator burns with wood or charcoal. Two high velocity electric blowers create a cyclone of intense heat, eliminating illicit drugs.

The drugs burn clean and the Drug Terminator is smoke free. Once the burn is complete, the material is reduced to an average of one percent ash.

This ash, which is the non-combustible drugs and drug paraphernalia, has been sterilized by heat, and can be disposed of in municipal waste.

Made by Elastec Inc. /American Marine, the Drug Terminator makes environmental products for worldwide destruction. There are over 2,000 Drug Terminators worldwide being used today.

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