Residents in 17 communities in Hampshire and Franklin counties turned in a total of 1,759 unwanted medications in the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day collection day held Saturday.
The event was held to help residents remove unused and unwanted drugs safely from their homes so they cannot be accessed by children or abused by other people. It is one step in the effort to control the opioid epidemic, said Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan, whose office sponsored the local efforts.
“This is one of the most important initiatives we participate in to help combat drug addiction,” Sullivan said in a statement announcing the success of this year’s collection.
Along with helping people clean out medicine cabinets, the effort also prevents unwanted and out-of-date drugs from being thrown in the garbage or flushed down the toilet, which can contaminate the environment. Pharmaceuticals have been found in some of the nation’s waterways, he said.
This year 17 communities in Hampshire and Franklin Counties participated in the collection. They are Amherst, Belchertown, Cummington, Easthampton, Goshen, Hadley, Northampton, Pelham, Southampton, South Hadley, Williamsburg, Worthington, Deerfield, Greenfield, Leverett, Montague and Sunderland.
A number of communities in Hampden County also participated in the effort including Springfield and Longmeadow.
Multiple police departments also have drug collection boxes in station lobbies. Anyone can drop off unused medications there at any time with no questions asked. Some of the collection boxes are located in Chicopee, Monson, Agawam, Amherst, Easthampton and Northampton.
All drugs collected are incinerated.