Arcola Gifted Support and Science Specialist Patty McGinnis helped to organize the school district’s portion of the work, though it isn’t the first time Arcola students have rolled up their sleeves to lend a helping hand.
“This is actually the third year that Arcola students have been involved in the Take-Back Day event,” said McGinnis. “Arcola got involved as a result of some reading I had done about the issue a few years back. I asked some students if they would be interested in working on a community problem, and they were very eager to get involved.”
McGinnis then took the idea to the Arcola school resource officer who assisted with the required paperwork with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
“We made arrangements for Arcola students to work with the police staff to address the issue of prescription drugs,” said McGinnis.
She said that concept is especially important to teach the community’s youth.
“Prescription drugs harm the community in two ways,” she said. “If they are disposed of improperly they can contaminate our water supply. The second issue is, of course, drug abuse. It is absolutely critical that we keep drugs out of the hands of people who may abuse them.”
The Arcola students will be hands-on with the LPPD day.
“They will be welcoming people and asking them to take a short survey that will help us plan for next year's Take-Back Day,” said McGinnis. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the students to interact with the public, gain confidence in their public speaking skills, and have a positive impact in the community while strengthening the relationship between the school and the local township police.”
McGinnis said that the benefits for participating students would not stop there. There is truly a laundry list of pluses for the Arcola school students helping out.
“Getting kids engaged in solving community problems is essential to developing their leadership skills and it helps them to make a connection between what they learn in school and the outside world,” said the teacher. “Our students are to be commended for their willingness to make a positive difference in their community; I don't know of any other middle school that is partnering with their local police in an attempt to alleviate the drug abuse problem.”
The Arcola students and LPPD will be accepting any prescription drugs and over the counter medication. Labels with any identifying information may be removed for the protection of the owner. The event will be held at the Lower Providence Township Police station, located on the backside of the township building itself, 100 Parklane Dr., Eagleville, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 26.
“No needles will be taken,” said McGinnis of the event. “All people dropping off medication must be age 18 or older.”
Join 10 eighth grade gifted seminar students, along with the LPPD staff, to help keep Lower Providence Township clear and safe from unneeded drugs.
“They have been working on this project for the last two months,” said McGinnis of her students. “Their work has consisted of planning and carrying out a public service campaign to make the community aware of the event, creating and distributing flyers and brochures to the community, and meeting with our school resource officer, Officer Mark Stead.”
For more information on the take-back, contact the LPPD at 610-539-5901. Those that cannot attend the special take-back event may drop off unused medications (prescription or over-the-counter) to the LPPD lobby during open hours, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
According to the LPPD website, “any controlled, non-controlled and over the counter medications will be accepted. Liquid products and creams in their original container, along with pet medications will also be accepted.”
The police added “syringes and illicit substances, such as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED” during the take-back day nor via the drop box.
“Prescription medications need not to be removed from its container,” said the site. “This program is anonymous and NO attempt will be made to identify an individual.”