Waltham residents looking to dispose of their unused or expired prescription drugs now have a city location to take them.
Residents can drop such medications off at the Waltham Police Department drug disposal box, Acting Waltham Police Chief Keith MacPherson and Middlesex County District Attorney Gerry Leone announced on Sept. 14. Medications can be dropped off at any time.
“Illegal use of prescription drugs is the nation’s fastest growing drug problem,” Leone said in a statement. “Our aim is to assure that prescription drugs are only in the hands of those who they are prescribed for, and not in the hands of young people who have easy access family medicine cabinets where they can use and abuse them. These new drug collection units provide an effective and convenient method for disposal of unwanted medications without harming our environment, and keeping powerful addictive drugs off of the streets.”
The drop box is part of a county-wide efforts launched in 31 communities to combat abuse of prescription medication, accoring to the DA's office.
TEXT OF FULL PRESS RELEASE
WALTHAM – Waltham residents now have a free, safe method to dispose of unused or expired prescription medication thanks to a new drug collection unit box located at the Waltham Police Station, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone and Acting Police Chief Keith MacPherson announced today.
A MedReturn Drug Collection Unit was delivered today to the Waltham Police Department, one of 31 communities in Middlesex County participating in a county-wide prescription drug removal effort, first implemented in May. The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office purchased the 31 units through drug forfeiture funds, which can be used for the purpose of drug rehabilitation, drug education and other anti-drug efforts.
“Illegal use of prescription drugs is the nation’s fastest growing drug problem,” DA Leone said. “Our aim is to assure that prescription drugs are only in the hands of those who they are prescribed for, and not in the hands of young people who have easy access family medicine cabinets where they can use and abuse them. These new drug collection units provide an effective and convenient method for disposal of unwanted medications without harming our environment, and keeping powerful addictive drugs off of the streets.”
The drug collection unit is in the lobby of the Waltham Police Station, 155 Lexington St. Medications can be dropped off 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The effort is part of the District Attorney’s goal to address issues of substance abuse among young people. An estimated 2.4 million Americans misused prescription drugs for the first time within the past year, and about a third of those users were age 12 to 17, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 70 percent of people who abused prescription pain killers got them from relatives or friends. Additionally, the study reports, more and more opiate overdoses are now a result of prescription painkillers.
Every day, on average, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The DEA also reports that 56 percent of teens say prescription drugs are easier to get than illicit drugs. Two in five teens believe that prescription drugs are safer than illegal drugs.
Middlesex County is the largest county in Massachusetts and one of the largest counties in the country with 54 towns and cities and 26 colleges in urban, suburban, and rural areas, comprising over one quarter of the population of Massachusetts. The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office has offices throughout the county, including communities such as Ayer, Cambridge, Concord, Framingham, Lowell, Malden, Marlborough, Natick, Newton,Somerville, Waltham and Woburn.