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 injury, surgery or dental work look harmless sitting in your 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.”
DA Morrissey and Foxborough Police Chief Edward O’Leary 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 O’Leary.
“The concern should extend beyond your own children,” O’Leary said. “If they ever have visitors, when those friends close the door to the restroom behind themselves, they are alone with whatever OxyContin, Percocet or other drugs are in the cabinet.”
Parents of teens often monitor liquor in their home, but O’Leary 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.
Over the last year, Morrissey has worked with Norfolk County police chiefs to place drug collection containers in 25 of the 28 police departments in the county.
Morrissey negotiated an arrangement with Bay State Community Services’ Impact Quincy program that provides a two-thirds subsidy for police to acquire the $900 containers.
Morrissey awarded Foxborough a $300 grant from the DA’s office, drawn from drug profits forfeited in narcotics prosecutions, and a $300 grant from anti-drug funds that Impact Quincy had through the Department of Public Health.
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 O’Leary said.
District Attorney Morrissey contacted Covanta Energy and arranged for Norfolk County Departments to participate in Covanta’s Rx 4 Safety program, in which the drugs collected in the bins are destroyed by that company at no cost to the town.
“It is in the lobby of the police station and ready for use,” O’Leary said. “A few minutes of your time today could save someone else a lifetime of consequences.”