OASIS (Organizing Against Substances in Stoughton) announced that nearly $20,000 in controlled substances were collected at its recent prescription drug take-back event, which was held Oct. 20 at the O'Donnell Middle School parking lot in conjunction with Hazardous Waste Day.
It was an opportunity for Stoughton residents to clean out any old, unused medication in their medicine cabinets and dispose of it in a safe way.
All controlled substances collected went to the police station and were incinerated, Stephanie Patton, OASIS Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator, said.
Patton said no questions were asked and that any identifying information was eliminated from the prescriptions turned in.
Prescription drugs collected ran from A to Z - Acetaminophen with codeine to Zolpidem tartrate, including Adderal, Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Perocet, Vicodin and Xanax.
Todd Brown, a Clinical Instructor and Vice Chair of Northeastern University’s Department of Pharmacy Practice and OASIS member (and Stoughton parent), used a formula to estimate the street value of the drugs collected at the take-back event.
The final total of $19,982 is a more conservative estimate, he said, and is almost double the $11,801 collected at the 2011 take-back.
"It's crucial to dispose of those prescription drugs properly so that they can't be abused," Stoughton Police Executive Officer Robert Devine, an OASIS member, said. "Every pill we dispose of is one that won't end up on the street."
Patton said take-back events are a "prevention strategy" because it reduces the amount of prescription drugs potentially available to Stoughton's youth right in their own medicine cabinets.
"I'm really pleased we were able to [collect] $20,000 of drugs...especially oxycodone, which has a high abuse potential," Patton said.
If residents were unable to make it to the take-back, there is a drug drop kiosk at the Stoughton Police Station for medication disposal and the sharps kiosk at the Stoughton Fire Station for needle disposal. Both are available any time (24/7), and again, no questions asked.
Even with these 24/7 drop-off kiosks, the success of the latest take-back shows the importance of having this event, Brown said.
"It tells me that despite the fact we have the drop box here we still need to do these public events," he said.
Patton said the success of October's take-back event was a "collaborative effort" with OASIS and various town-wide departments, like the Police, DPW, schools and Engineering (environmental affairs).
Volunteers included Brown and fellow pharmacist Lucy Guerrouxo from Target; Pat Small, the director of nursing at the Stoughton Schools; Teresa Tapper, a Stoughton Youth Commission Clinician; and Saddiya Seemungal, a sophomore at Stoughton High and a member of the SHS SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) group.
Patton reminded residents to know what they have in their medicine cabinets and to keep it properly stored. She said if they are no longer using the medication, they should be disposing it.