Public safety and health officials in Hampshire and Franklin counties in Massachusetts kicked off a program Wednesday aimed at getting unused prescription drugs out of homes to lessen the risk of abuse by minors.
“Just like a mailbox,” says Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan as he demonstrates the new prescription drug drop-off box installed in the entrance of the Northampton police station. Similar boxes are now in use at police stations in fourteen other western Massachusetts towns. Sullivan says drug drop-offs will decrease drug abuse among teens, and will help seniors from taking the wrong prescriptions.
“The other part is the environment, to make sure we get these medications out of landfills and streams.”
Sullivan says towns throughout the region have held annual drug drop-offs for several years.
“We actually collected more in Hampshire and Franklin county than the entire state of Rhode Island and Vermont in the last three drop-offs, we had 7,000 pounds. We’re expecting a ton or two per year that will come into these drop-off boxes. It’s a significant amount.”
Sullivan says the drugs will be rounded up by county sheriffs and incinerated at no charge to municipalities at a power plant in Agawam.