National Drug Take Back Day is back this Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Area residents can bring their unwanted and out-of-date medications to 19 locations in Hampshire and Franklin counties and Athol for sound disposal. Under the supervision of the Drug Enforcement Authority, the drugs are brought to Covanta Springfield, the Pioneer Valley Resource Recovery Facility where waste is processed to generate renewable energy.
Since 2011, more than 50,000 pounds have been collected in the Northwestern District during Take Back days and from permanent collection boxes.
Participating communities on April 27 include Amherst, Belchertown, Cummington, Easthampton, Goshen, Hadley, Northampton Pelham, Southampton, South Hadley, Williamsburg and Worthington in Hampshire County and Bernardston, Deerfield, Greenfield, Leverett, Montague and Sunderland in Franklin County as well as Athol in Worcester County.
Getting unwanted and unused drugs out of people’s homes, where they can be accessed by children and other people who shouldn’t use them, is part of the nationwide effort to confront the opioid crisis.
Most people who misuse prescription drugs get them from friends and family, sometimes without their knowledge. And, according to the latest information from the National Institute on Drug Abuse “about 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.”
“This is one of the most important initiatives we participate in to help combat drug addiction,” Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan said.
Another objective of National Prescription Drug Day is raising awareness of this public health crisis and ensuring the safety of elders. Helping them clean out their medicine cabinets can help prevent accidental overdoses and the misappropriation of prescription drugs by children and teenagers, personal care assistants or loved ones.
Soundly disposing of unwanted drugs also helps keep harmful chemicals out of the environment. Unwanted and out-of-date drugs cannot be simply thrown in the garbage or flushed down the toilet. Pharmaceuticals are already present in some of the nation’s waterbodies, according to the Environmental Protection Agency and the long-term consequences remain to be seen.
For more information, contact the NWDA’s TRIAD Coordinator Rachel Senecal at Rachel.Senecal@state.ma.us