A press release from the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office:
If you have prescription drugs in your medicine cabinet that you no longer need, the has a new drug take-back container – and you are invited to use it.
“Prescription drugs, particularly opiate-based pain pills left over from surgery, injury, even dental work, may look harmless sitting in the medicine chest, but we are finding that the opposite is true,” said Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey.
“We are hearing from addiction experts that over half, and perhaps three quarters, of young people are having their first experiences with addictive opiates that were taken directly from the medicine cabinets of family or friends.”
The new secure prescription drug collection container can be found in the lobby of the Stoughton Police headquarters on Rose St.
DA Morrissey and agree that getting un-used prescription drugs out of residents’ medicine cabinets is an important tool in keeping them out of circulation – and thereby preventing addictions and the crime and misery that often accompany them.
Police refer to them as “diverted drugs,” and they are a significant problem, according to Chief Shastany.
“Our own children should not be our sole concern,” Chief Shastany said. “Whenever you, your children or grandchildren have guests in the home, when they use the restroom they are behind a closed door with whatever prescription drugs may be in the cabinet. Thefts occur.”
Parents of teens often monitor liquor in their home, but Shastany and Morrissey said that few parents keep track of how many unused pills are in the house.
“That is proving to be a mistake for many good families,” Morrissey said.
In May, District Attorney Morrissey wrote to Norfolk County police chiefs inviting them to host a drug collection container.
Morrissey negotiated an arrangement with Bay State Community Services’ Impact Quincy program that provided a two-thirds subsidy for police to acquire the $900 secure containers.
Morrissey awarded 13 towns a $300 grant from the DA’s office, drawn from drug profits forfeited in narcotics prosecutions, coupled with a $300 grant from anti-drug funds that Impact Quincy had through the Department of Public Health.
Stoughton missed the window for the Impact Quincy grant, but with the success of the program elsewhere prompted the DA and the Chief to agree to split the cost of a container for Stoughton, with each paying for half.
With the Food and Drug Administration recommending against flushing unused medicine down the toilet or disposing of it in household trash, for environmental and other reasons, these containers provide a safe method, Morrissey and Shastany said.
District Attorney Morrissey contacted Covanta Energy and arranged for Norfolk County Departments to be able to have drugs collected in the bins destroyed by that company at no cost to the town. “We are thankful to Covanta for their good corporate citizenship here,” Morrissey said.
“The container is self-serve and situated in the lobby of the police station ready to be used,” Chief Shastany said. “Taking a few minutes out of your day to safely dispose of your un-used prescriptions can prevent crime and, frankly, the destruction of lives.”