For Immediate Release - September 25, 2015

Governor Baker Announces Drug Take-Back Day This Saturday

Sites Set Up Across State To Collect Unwanted Prescription Drugs

BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker today urged residents to go through their medicine cabinets and nightstands, locate unused or unwanted prescription drugs, and safely dispose of them as part of this year’s Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday, September 26 from 10AM – 2PM.

“Drug Take-Back Day offers a safe and simple way for people to responsibly dispose of unused prescriptions and prevent medication, like painkillers, from getting into the wrong hands,” said Governor Baker.  “I urge the Commonwealth to open their medicine cabinets and take advantage of this convenient and effective program in your communities.  Medications can be misused, and as we’ve seen with the opioid crisis, the results can be deadly.”

More than 170 sites in the Commonwealth are participating in this year’s Drug Take-Back Day, a collaboration of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the national Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The sites range from police stations to schools to senior centers. Residents can locate the nearest collection site by visiting www.mass.gov/dph or by calling 800-882-9539.

“Certain medicines that are left lying around, such as painkillers, are highly susceptible to being stolen and sold on the street,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “This free service addresses a vital public safety issue. Old prescription drugs can be dropped off – no questions asked.”

During last September’s National Drug Take-Back Day, Americans turned in 309 tons (about 600,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at nearly 5,500 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Collection sites cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps—only pills and patches.

Holding and promoting drug take-back events was part of the Governor’s Opioid Working Group recommendations announced in June to bend the trend of overdose deaths in the state.

“Prescription drug misuse both in Massachusetts and across the country is alarmingly high, but so is the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses,” said Marylou Sudders, Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. “Not only should you search your own home, but check with any elders, such as older parents or neighbors. Those over the age of 65 tend to take multiple medications and they may need added help disposing of them safely.”

Public health experts warn that in general, prescription medications should not be flushed down the toilet, where they can pollute water sources or tossed in the trash where they could be found and misused.  Many local police departments have permanent drug drop-boxes on site.  For more information about safe prescription drug disposal, visit mass.gov/stopaddiction.

 

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