Arlington residents looking to rid their medicine cabinets of unused, unwanted or expired medications will now have an ongoing disposal option at the Arlington Police Station. On June 15, 2012 the Arlington Police Department (APD), in collaboration with the Arlington Youth Health and Safety Coalition (AYHSC), will officially launch the new medication disposal drop box at the Community Safety Building, 112 Mystic Street, Arlington. Residents wishing to dispose of prescription and/or over-the-counter medications will be able to access the secure collection box, 24 hours a
day, 7 days per week, in the front lobby of the Police Station. Please note, no sharps or needles will be accepted. This program will be offered as part of Arlington’s continuing efforts to reduce the supply of unwanted medications, especially those with a high potential for misuse, within the community.
The misuse of prescription medications is a widespread problem throughout the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 20% of people in the U.S. have misused/abused a prescription medication, and roughly 7 million people are current users of prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons. Among youth, prescription drugs are the most widely abused illicit drugs, after alcohol, marijuana and tobacco. According to the 2011 Arlington Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 16% of Arlington High School students have misused prescription medications. Furthermore, studies show that the majority of youth obtain prescription drugs from friends and relatives, often without their knowledge. Proper medication disposal, along with community and healthcare provider education, prescription drug monitoring systems, and enforcement of
drug trafficking violations, is critical to preventing and reducing prescription drug abuse.
Since 2009, AYHSC and the APD have conducted 10 drug take-back programs, coinciding with local events like Community Collection Day and Arlington Town Day, as well as the national DEA Drug Take-Back Initiative. Through these programs, AYHSC and APD collected and destroyed hundreds of pounds of medications (containers and packaging were recycled separately), including thousands of narcotic pills, tabs, and liquid ounces. However, demand for safe and ongoing disposal options has intensified as residents have become increasingly aware of the risks associated with having unused prescription medications lying around the home. AYHSC and APD are confident that the new collection site will fulfill the need for an environmentally sound disposal option, while also helping to ensure that excess medications are kept out of the hands of young people and
others susceptible to substance abuse.
The new disposal box is for medications only. All medications will be destroyed through incineration. Disposal of sharps (e.g., needles, syringes, lancets, EpiPens) will not be permitted. A separate disposal program for sharps should be in place by the end of the summer. Whenever possible, medications should be dropped off in their original containers, with the name of the medication clearly visible. Bottles containing liquid medications should be placed in plastic bags as well (available on site). Personal identifiers on medication containers will be removed, and the bottles will be recycled. However, residents concerned about remaining anonymous should obscure this information themselves. For more information about this program, contact AYHSC Director, Colleen Leger, at 781-316-3179.