GLOUCESTER — Public Health Director Karin Carroll and Police Chief Edward Conley are pleased to announce that the Gloucester Health and Police Departments, in conjunction with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), will once again be participating in National Drug Take Back Day.
Saturday, Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Rose Baker Senior Center Parking Lot, 6 Manuel F. Lewis St.
National Drug Take Back Day is a free, no-questions-asked event that gives the community the opportunity to aid in the fight against substance use disorder by disposing of potentially dangerous expired, unwanted or unused prescription drugs.
As part of the event, residents can drop off unwanted pills or patches, but not liquids, needles or sharps.
“We offer these events biannually in an effort to provide our residents with an accessible, easy way to dispose of these medications,” Chief Conley said. “Unfortunately, when these drugs are left in a medicine cabinet long term, unsupervised, they often are picked up by someone struggling with substance use. That’s less likely when people are given frequent opportunities to dispose of those drugs in a safe way.”
Studies suggest that the majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their previous methods for disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — pose potential environmental, safety, and health hazards.
“We encourage residents who have unwanted or expired prescription medications at home to stop by and properly dispose of them at Saturday’s event,” Carroll said. “In addition to helping residents properly dispose of medications, these events provide us with an opportunity to educate residents about substance use and the local resources and programs available.”
Last fall, Americans turned in nearly 469 tons (more than 937,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at nearly 6,300 sites operated by the DEA and almost 5,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Locally, more than 80,000 pounds of drugs were collected in Massachusetts.
Overall, in its 17 previous Take Back events, the DEA and its partners have taken in more than 11.8 million pounds of pills.
New this year, sites will be collecting vaping pens and e-cigarette devices as well, after batteries are removed. According to the DEA, vaping pens with batteries still in them are a different waste stream designation and are considered a potential fire hazard. For devices that have batteries that cannot be removed, residents are asked to call their local hazardous waste management facility or check with large electronic chain stores who may accept the devices for proper disposal.
For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs, about the Oct. 26 Take Back Day or for complete results from past Take Back Day events, visit www.DEATakeBack.com.