Members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, along with Boston’s Mayor Martin Walsh and Governor Deval Patrick are urging residents to participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 26.
Take-Back Day is a national initiative aimed at encouraging the public to dispose of expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs that are prone to abuse and theft.
The Massachusetts-wide Take-Back Day is set for Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will allow residents across the state to drop off unwanted prescription drugs at sites sponsored by local law enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked, according to a statement released Monday afternoon.
Boston residents can currently dispose of unused or expired medication for free in a MedReturn Drug Collection Kiosk located at 11 Boston Police Department Stations, according to the release. These kiosks are open to all residents, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Full information on the program and a map of disposal locations is available on the Boston Public Health Commission’s website.
"I don’t want to get another call from a mother or a father who is in fear of losing their child, because of a habit that began with pills from a neighbor’s medicine cabinet," said Mayor Walsh in the statement. "Substance abuse requires comprehensive approaches that include prevention, intervention, and treatment. But if we can get these unneeded drugs out of our neighborhoods, we will be taking a step in the right direction."
Governor Deval Patrick is calling for renewed action to end the opiates addiction happening in communities throughout the state.
"In addition to the steps we are taking at the state level under the public health emergency declaration, National Prescription Take-Back Day will encourage residents to rid their homes of unnecessary prescription drugs,” Patrick said in a statement. “I thank Mayor Walsh and the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation for their leadership on this effort in Massachusetts."
In March, Governor Patrick declared a public health emergency in Massachusetts in response to the growing opioid addiction epidemic which allowed the DPW to make Naloxone (Narcan) more widely available to first responders and bystanders, mandate prescription monitoring by physicians and pharmacies, prohibit the prescribing and dispensing of any hydrocodone-only medication (Zohydro), and retask the state’s Interagency Council on Substance Abuse and Prevention to study long-term solutions to combat this epidemic.
Officials say prescription drugs left unattended or forgotten in family medicine cabinets are one of the most accessible gateways to opiate and heroin abuse.
Last October, Americans turned in 324 tons (over 647,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 4,114 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners. Those results, combined with what was collected during previous Take Back events, the DEA and its partners took in more than 3.4 million pounds (more than 1,700 tons) of pills, according to the statement.