This spring, community coalitions from across the county have joined forces to host the biannual Prescription Drug Take Back Day, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, April 30 at eight locations within Berkshire County.
This event is free and open to the public. The process of dropping off medication is anonymous, quick, and has potential life-saving benefits. Anyone with unused, unwanted and expired prescription, over-the-counter and controlled medications should stop by to dispose of them safely. Personal needles are also accepted in puncture proof plastic containers. Please note that the following items will not be accepted: thermometers, IV bags, blood or infectious waste, nebulizers, and oxygen tanks.
- North County – Adams Police Station , 4 School St.; and North Adams Police Station, 11 Summer St.
- Central County – CHP Neighborhood Health Center, 510 North St., Pittsfield; Dalton CRA, 400 Main St.; and Berkshire Mall Food Court, 655 Cheshire Road, Lanesborough.
- South County – Lenox Town Hall, 6 Walker St.; Lee Ambulance Service, 177 Main St.; and Stockbridge Police Station, 50 Main St.
“Prescription drug abuse is a growing national and local issue. We know that 70 percent of teens who abuse prescription drugs get them from home medicine cabinets, not from drug dealers. Unfortunately, 434 Berkshire teens abused undisposed prescription drugs for recreational purposes in 2015,” said Nataly Garzon, Coordinator of Youth Development, Berkshire United Way. “This is an alarming increase from the 255 Berkshire teens who abused prescription drugs in 2013. We want to urge parents and grandparents to comb through their cabinets and get rid of anything they are not currently taking.”
This spring’s prescription drug round up is a continuation of year-round efforts to curb prescription drug abuse. Over the last couple of months, collaboration between the District Attorney’s Office and local police stations has resulted in the installment of four additional drop-off boxes.
Prescription drop boxes are an easy and accessible way to get rid of unused medication safely throughout the year. It is essential that disposal of unwanted drugs is continuous, and that they are not saved for collection days which can increase the risk of inappropriate use.
While prescriptions are in the household, they should always be locked up and made inaccessible. “All prescription drugs should be stored in a safe, secure location and taken only as prescribed. Children and teens’ use of prescription drugs should involve adults dispensing the medication to them. A drug lockbox with a key or combination provides the best security,” said Wendy Penner, Director of Prevention Programs, Northern Berkshire Community Coalition.
As of now, there are 14 drop-off boxes across the county that serve as drop-off sites for unwanted, unused or expired medications. The drop boxes can be reached at any time throughout the week. They are located inside police stations in Pittsfield, Adams, Dalton, Egremont, Great Barrington, Lee, Lenox, North Adams, Sheffield, Williamstown, Otis, Sandisfield, West Stockbridge, and Stockbridge.
For more information about this initiative, please contact area representatives. For North County, Wendy Penner, firstname.lastname@example.org; Central County, Nataly Garzon, email@example.com; and South County, Ananda Timpane, firstname.lastname@example.org.