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National Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday

Old prescription medicines can pose hazards for children, and flushing may pose problems for the environment.

So, area residents are encouraged to look to their medicine cabinets for unused prescription drugs Saturday for the latest national prescription drug take-back day, with collection locations around the county.

Prescription drugs are commonly abused by people they were not intended for. Prescription opioids are now considered an addictive gateway to heroin use and are as similarly addictive and deadly as the street drug, with the difference being that they can be found in the medicine cabinets of relatives.

The 2008 National Survey on Drug Abuse found more Americans abusing prescription drugs than the number abusing cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin combined.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, prescription drugs, including opioids and antidepressants, are responsible for more overdose deaths than street drugs, while the Drug Enforcement Administration reports that two in five teens believe that prescription drugs are “much safer” than street drugs, and three in 10 believe that prescription pain relievers are not addictive.

Beginning opioid users commonly obtain them from friends and family, whether given or taken. For those who need their prescriptions, lock boxes can be purchased at some pharmacies, at office goods and department stores.

In this area, the periodic drug take-back days have evolved into static year-round collections, and anyone may leave unwanted prescriptions in the green mailbox style collection boxes in the Greenfield, Montague, Athol, Orange, Deerfield, Erving and Sunderland police stations year-round, no questions asked.

In Franklin and Hampshire counties and Athol, the effort is sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, the county sheriffs and other local agencies, and the one-day events and collection boxes have collected more than 7 tons of unwanted and outdated prescription drugs since 2011, according to the DA’s office.

Participating sites in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in Franklin County are: the Greenfield, Deerfield, Erving, Montague, Orange and Sunderland police stations, Ashfield Town Hall and, in the North Quabbin, Athol Town Hall.

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