PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — For the past year, Sheriff Deputy Joe Cirigliano has been on the front line of the opioid crisis, collecting unused prescription drugs, nearly a ton of them.

“I think out of the 1,600 pounds of pills I’ve collected already, there’s a few lives in there that have been saved, honestly,” Deputy Cirigliano said.

Most days of the week, Deputy Cirigliano goes from town-to-town and door-to-door picking up unused and unneeded pills for the Allegheny County Sheriff Office’s Project D.U.M.P., or the Disposal of Unused Medication Properly.

“People don’t know how to get rid of these medications. They have them, they store them forever,” said Deputy Cirigliano .

Anyone can call and Deputy Cirigliano will come right to your door.

People can the leave the prescription drugs on the door handle or hand them off in person. The program is completely anonymous, but Paul Recker, of McKees Rocks, agreed to speak with KDKA.

“They were a lot of old prescriptions that belonged to my wife. My wife passed away and they’ve been sitting here for over 15 years,” he said.

You shouldn’t flush drugs down the toilet or throw them in the garbage for addicts to comb through. Instead Deputy Cirigliano gets a “destruction order” from a judge and brings them to an incinerator.

“Dispose of them properly and they don’t have to worry about them anymore,” the deputy said.

Mostly importantly, they are forever kept out of the hands of drug abusers who sustain their habits by stealing prescription medications from homes of unsuspecting people.

KDKA’s Andy Sheehan: “You hope it will make an impact?”

Deputy Cirigliano: “I know it’s making an impact.”

The number for Project D.U.M.P. is 412-459-5000. And for more information online, click here:

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