Drug Take Back Day

Help keep medications out of the wrong hands! Bring your unwanted prescriptions and other medications to a drop box for environmentally sound disposal at locations throughout Hampshire and Franklin counties on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Oct. 28, 2017.

Participating communities, so far, include:
Hampshire County
Amherst
Belchertown
Cummington
Easthampton
Goshen
Northampton
Southampton
Williamsburg
Worthington

Franklin County
Deerfield
Greenfield
Leverett
Sunderland

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Dr. Ruth Potee talks about prescription drug abuse and the heroin crisis in the Northwestern District

According to the Centers for Disease Control, prescription drugs, including opioids and antidepressants, are still responsible for more overdose deaths than “street drugs.” And yet,  two in five teens believe that prescription drugs are “much safer” than street drugs, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Three in 10 teens believe that prescription pain relievers are not addictive. Some 60 percent of teens who abused prescription pain relievers did so before the age of 15.

The fact is, a majority of teens obtained the drugs from family and friends, sometimes from their medicine cabinets without their knowledge.

Keeping prescription drugs out of the hands of children and teenagers is one of the most important objectives of National Prescription Drug Day, as is raising awareness of this growing public health crisis and ensuring the safety of our elder population. Helping elders clean out their medicine cabinets can help prevent accidental overdoses and the misappropriation of prescription drugs by personal care assistants or loved ones.

Another objective of Take Back Day is keeping 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 Unwanted and out-of-date drugs cannot be simply thrown in the garbage or flushed down the toilet.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. The long-term consequences remain to be seen.

Currently, more than 16 tons of medications have been collected at Take Back Days and 17 permanent drug drop off boxes in the Northwestern District. 

Some 242,000 pounds (121 tons) were collected on the first Take Back Day in September, 2010. In New England, Massachusetts led the way, with 12,354 pounds collected.