CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, sponsored by the DEA at police departments across the country, and here in western Massachusetts.

A total of 22 locations are participating locally, including 15 police departments, all accepting unwanted or expired prescription pills, so they aren’t misused. Saturday’s collection is the 23rd National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day and the second this year.

In April, more than 5,000 sites collected 721,000 pounds of prescription drugs. All time, they’ve taken back just under 16 million pounds. Opioid misuse is at epidemic levels across the country and is affecting thousands close to home. The CDC estimates that more than 107,000 people died last year as a result of drug poisoning.

Many of those were preventable. The deadly drugs are most often found at home or acquired from friends and family. Survey data from the National Institutes of Health indicates that more than three-percent of Americans over the age of 12 misused prescription pain relievers in 2020. That number is a direct correlation with the growing opioid crisis.

“Overdoses are occuring as we speak and it just does not seem to be getting any better, so programs like this really gets them out of the hands that will use them in a negative way,” said Director of Community Safety and Outreach for the Hampden District Attorney, Antonio Simmons.

It isn’t just people’s health you protect through proper disposal of prescription pills… Improper disposal can also have an adverse affect on the environment and local water ways.

Simmons added, “First environmentally, we definitely don’t want these drugs in our water system. You really shouldn’t flush them down the toilet. People think that is healthy, but it gets right into our water system and that creates havoc.”

Take-back locations will accept tablets, capsules, patches, and other prescription drugs. Some will also accept vaping devices, as long as you remove the battery. The collection runs from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at police stations across the country.

Below is a list of drop-off locations:

  • Agawam Police Dept, 10am-2pm
  • Amherst, Wildwood Elementary School, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Belchertown Town Common, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Chicopee, Hampden County Sheriff, Castle Of Knights, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Deerfield Police Dept, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Easthampton Public Safety Complex, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • East Longmeadow Police Dept, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Greenfield Police Dept, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Hadley, Hopkins Academy, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Holyoke Police Dept, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Leverett Police Dept, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Longmeadow Police Dept, Pittsfield Police Dept, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Ludlow Police Dept, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Montague Police Dept, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Northampton, Smith Voc Hs, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Pittsfield Police Dept, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • South Hadley Police Dept, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Springfield Central High School, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Sunderland Police Dept, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • West Springfield Police Dept, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Williamsburg, Williams Hardware, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Worthington, Highway Dept, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

If you missed collection on Saturday there is another event in April, but you don’t have to wait that long. A number of police departments around the region have a 24/7, year-round drop off box.