SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - The national Prescription Drug Take-Back Day had people throughout western Massachusetts dropping off expired, unused, and potentially dangerous prescription drugs at about 24 locations throughout the region.
Springfield Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration set up a take back in the parking lot of the Central High School from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and people were dropping off prescription drugs by the bag load.
"I've got a bunch of old prescription drugs that I've had hanging around forever that I no longer use and didn't know what to do with so this was the perfect opportunity to bring them down and get rid of them," said MaryAnn Hogan of Springfield.
It was the seventh time the DEA has helped organize the national take back in the past three years, in an effort to try and prevent pill abuse and theft.
The majority of people who abuse prescription drugs often obtain them through friends and family from home. But it also keeps people from flushing the unused prescription drugs down the toilet or throwing them in the trash causing health and safety hazards.
"Collecting unwanted prescription drugs. Get them out of the medicine cabinets, get them out of the streets, help the community," said Sandra Kozaczka of the DEA.
The service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked.
When most people drop off their unused prescription drugs their worried about identity theft with their names still on the labels of their pill bottles, but the DEA says everything is incinerated the same day its dropped off.
Michael Ellis dropped off some of his unwanted prescription drugs, but he is also the principal of the Recovery High School in Springfield, and has seen how prescription drug abuse can affect people.
"A lot of our kids are addicted to prescription drugs that they get at home, and that's where it starts with some of them. So I think its awesome for the community to be here and collect those and get the kids out of harms way," said Michael Ellis of Springfield.
The last national Prescription Drug Take-Back Day back in April, had Americans turn in 371 tons of prescription drugs.