SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – In an effort to fight the opioid epidemic, police departments across the country and right here in western Massachusetts participated in National Drug Take Back Day on Saturday.
The goal of Drug Take Back Day is to provide a safe and reliable place for you to dispose of your unwanted prescription drugs. In Springfield, hundreds of residents dropped off their expired or unwanted prescription pills to keep them out of the wrong hands. The Drug Enforcement Administration, Springfield Police, and other volunteers supervised the drug drop-off at Central High School, one of the many places where western Massachusetts residents dropped off their unwanted medications.
Misuse and improper disposal of these drugs is what contributes to the problem.
DEA agent Daniel Pomeroy told 22News, “The disposal of unused medications is one of the greatest ways that individuals can protect their family members from becoming victims of the opioid epidemic.”
Drug Take Back Day ensures that those drugs are disposed of properly, and your home is safer without them.
Western New England University pharmacy student Rachel Larson said, “It’s definitely an important tool to make sure you get those out of the cabinet, and make sure they don’t get in the wrong hands.”
Drop off locations were set up throughout Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties. The Northwestern District Attorney’s Office announced that 1,657 pounds of unwanted or expired prescription drugs were turned in, no questions asked. 10 Hampshire County and 4 Franklin County communities took part in Drug Take Back Day.
Agent Pomeroy told 22News that last year’s Drug Take Back Day properly disposed over 3,000 pounds of unwanted medications in western Massachusetts alone.
Once the drugs are received, they are brought to an incinerator where they are completely disposed of.
Pomeroy told 22News that last year’s efforts disposed over 27,000 pounds of unwanted and expired medications in the state of Massachusetts. He hopes this year’s efforts set record numbers in western Massachusetts, and in other cities and towns across the state.
Since 2011 more than 18 tons have been safely disposed of at drug collection boxes like these at police departments and other locations.