Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is encouraging Boston residents to take part in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, scheduled for April 26.
“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,” Walsh said in a Monday press release. “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.”
After Massachusetts saw more than 185 heroine-related deaths in three months, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick declared the emergency in order to increase the accessibility of Narcan, an antidote that can reverse the effects of a drug overdose.
The national initiative, which will occur in cities across the country from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., allows members of the community to anonymously drop off expired or unwanted prescription drugs at designated area sites. Sponsored by the local law enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration, Take-Back Day is a free and anonymous system.
Patrick said Take-Back Day is part of a renewed course of action to tackle the opiate epidemic that has spread throughout the Commonwealth.
“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,” he said in the release. “I thank Mayor Walsh and the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation for their leadership on this effort in Massachusetts.”
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has emphasized her support for substance abuse treatment programs in the past, said prescription drug abuse is a problem affecting families and communities across Massachusetts.
“The problem is urgent, destroying lives and breaking up families, and it will take everyone working together to combat this epidemic,” she said in the release. “National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is one way Massachusetts families can take action at home to stop this abuse and save lives.”
Boston currently gives residents the opportunity to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs 24 hours a day, seven days a week at any of the 11 designated MedReturn Drug Collection Kiosks. The kiosks are provided by the Boston Public Health Commission, Boston Police Department and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
During the last Take-Back event, held in Oct. 2013, the DEA collected 324 tons of prescription drugs from more than 4,114 sites nationally and overall, the DEA and its partners have collected more than 3.4 million pounds in pills, according to the release.
U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano said National Take-Back Day is a small step all members of the community can take to expedite the process of limiting the availability of drugs.
“Safely disposing of old or unused prescription drugs in our own homes is one small step we can all take to limit the availability of drugs in our communities,” he said in the release. “I encourage everyone to take a few minutes to clean out their own medicine cabinets.”