EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 25, 2013

Dispose of unwanted medicine Saturday

Many local departments join Drug Take-Back Day

By Alex Lippa
alippa@eagletribune.com

---- — When Plaistow started taking part in Drug Take-Back day two years ago, police expected a flurry at the beginning, before collections started to tail off. But the town continues to see a steady amount of expired or unwanted medicine dropped off each year.

“It’s amazing,” Deputy police Chief Kathleen Jones said. “It just shows how many unused drugs are actually out there.”

Plaistow is just one of many local communities that will be participating in the biannual collection on Saturday.

The day is part of an initiative by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, started in 2008. Throughout the nation, more than 2 million pounds of prescription medications have been collected.

In Sandown, they collect drugs every day through a permanent dropbox inside the police station. But police make sure to participate each time a national collection day occurs.

“It’s an important day,” Sgt. Aurie Roy said. “The rest of the state participates, so we think we should as well.”

The permanent box has been a big hit since it was created over a year ago.

“We’ve gotten 75,000 pills since we started,” Roy said. “People regularly drop it off.”

People can anonymously drop off unwanted medication. The DEA and police want to keep prescription drugs out of the hands of people for whom they were not prescribed.

“The danger is a lot of burglaries are committed by people breaking into homes looking for prescribed drugs,” Kingston police Chief Donald Briggs said. “These drugs have a high street value, so we want to ensure that they won’t end up in the wrong hands.”

Police also want to make sure that the drugs are disposed of properly.

“We don’t want people just flushing them down the toilet,” Jones said. “By doing this, we can make sure we dispose of them in the proper and efficient way.”

Plaistow has considered installing a permanent drop box at the station, but instead will continue collecting them twice a year.

“We like what we have with Rite-Aid,” Jones said. “It’s been successful, so for now, we are going to keep doing that.”

Salem also has a permanent box installed. They will not be participating in event Saturday.

“Obviously, to put together an operation like that puts a little bit of strain on our budget,” Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten said. “We are able to offer this 24/7.”

A dispatcher with Danville police also said that department would not be participating this year.

The collections will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Police don’t accept syringes, lancets or liquid medicine.

Drug Take-Back Day Collection times are Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Atkinson: Atkinson police station, 27 Academy Ave. Derry: Hood Commons, 35 Crystal Ave. Hampstead: Hampstead Fire Department, 17 Littles Lane Kingston: Rite-Aid, 53 Church St. Londonderry: Londonderry police station, 268A Mammoth Road. Newton: Newton police station, 8 Merrimack Road. Pelham: Pelham police station, 14 Village Green. Plaistow: Rite-Aid, 31 Garden Road Sandown: Sandown police station, 314 Main St. Windham: Windham police station, 4 Fellows Road