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Chelsea plans to roll out ‘The Big Red Barrel Project’

If you have expired medications you’d like to dispose of, The Big Red Barrel Project will soon be coming to Chelsea, Dexter and Manchester.

Tuesday night, Oct. 23, Reiley Curran, SRSLY coalition director, gave a presentation to the Chelsea City Council about the no-questions-asked Rx disposal program in which red barrels will soon be placed in convenient locations in these towns for residents to safely get rid of unused medications.

The barrels will be made by students in the welding class of the Washtenaw Consortium and will work like a mail box that can only be accessed by law enforcement officials, who will drive the collected medications to an EPA-approved incinerator in Jackson for safe disposal.

Curren reminded residents that medications should not be flushed down the toilet and these barrels will help protect both children and the environment.

In Chelsea, according to Curren, 14 percent of the middle school students have taken a prescription painkiller without a doctor’ prescription, and 1 in 20 high school students has abused a prescription drug in the past month.

In two years, according to information Curran provided to the City Council, almost 500 pounds of unused medications were disposed of through a similar program in Livingston County.

Funding for the program is through a grant from the Chelsea Area Wellness Foundation, she said.

Chelsea Police Chief Ed Toth said the barrel for Chelsea will be placed in a well lit location located by a camera at the new police station. He said it will also be bolted into the ground.

It’s expected that the barrel will be in place in the next few months, possibly sooner, depending on how long it takes the students to make the barrel.

Saline, Unadilla and Stockbridge have already implemented similar programs, which Council Member Ann Feeney called “a great program.”

Partnering in the program are the wellness coalitions, the Chelsea Police Department, the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, SRSLY, Manchester Voices, Washtenaw County Public Health, Chelsea Community Hospital, local senior centers, pharmacies and physicians, according to information about the project.



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