16 tons of drugs returned to police drop boxes since 2011

  • A drug drop box at the Greenfield Police Department. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

For The Recorder
Published: 8/16/2017 9:07:16 PM

In six years, the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office has collected more than 32,000 pounds, or 16 tons, of unwanted or out-of-date drugs through 25 secure medication-return boxes located at police stations.

The district attorney’s office began collecting unused medications and drugs in 2011 as part of a national take-back initiative. A year later, secure medicine-disposal drop boxes were installed in police departments.

The boxes, located in Franklin and Hampshire counties, are emptied every other month. In 2017, about 3,900 pounds of medications have been collected so far, according to Daniel Carey, drug diversion and treatment program director for the district attorney’s office.

“It’s a great resource for the public to increase safety and get drugs out of the wrong hands, away from kids or folks dealing with addictions and may be looking in medicine cabinets,” Carey said of the drop-box program.

While getting rid of the drugs is relatively simple, police are asking citizens to follow a procedure to ensure the safety of the officers who empty the drop boxes.

“Its just a friendly reminder to folks because we are dealing with drugs,” Carey said. “We don’t want someone to open the box and have a million different things pouring out on them.”

Police have asked residents to bring their medications in a one-gallon size, or smaller, clear seal-top bag. The only contents allowed in the seal-top bag are prescription pills and sealed patches.

Needles, liquids, aerosol canisters and pill containers are not permitted in the drop boxes. People looking to dispose of those items are encouraged to contact their local health department or police department to find out the best way to dispose of them, Carey said.


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