Berkshire police departments to collect unneeded meds Saturday


Nine Berkshire County police departments will take part in the federal Drug Enforcement Administration's national drive on Saturday to collect unneeded prescription drugs.

The event, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. is dubbed the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, a no-cost, anonymous, no-questions-asked collection of unwanted and expired medication, according to a DEA announcement.

"It aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications," the agency stated.

Only pills or prescription patches, not liquids or needles, can be accepted.

Addiction to prescription drugs containing pain-killing opiods such as oxycodone and morphine has been identified by the Berkshire District Attorney's Office as a major source of drug abuse and related crime in the county, rivaling heroin and cocaine.

According to the DEA, rates of prescription drug abuse are "alarmingly high -- over half of teens abusing medication get them from the home medicine cabinet, a family member or friend, often without their knowledge."

Medicines in the home are also a leading cause of accidental poisoning and flushed or trashed medicines can end up polluting streams, lakes and rivers, the agency stated.

Last April's national take-back collection day yielded 371 tons of prescription drugs at nearly 6,000 sites operated by the DEA and local law-enforcement agencies. At the six previous events over the past eight years, more than 1,400 tons of pills were turned in nationwide.

Participating Berkshire County police departments and the location of collection sites open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday are:

-- Adams Police Department, 4 School St.

-- Dalton Police Department, Dalton CRA, 400 Main St.

-- Egremont Police Department, 171 Egremont Plain Road.

-- Lee Police Department, Lee Ambulance Service, 177 Main St.

-- Lenox Police Department, Town Hall Auditorium, 6 Walker St.

-- North Adams Police Department, 11 Summer St.

-- Pittsfield Police Department, CHP Neighborhood Health Center, 510 North St.

-- Stockbridge Police Department, rear of Town Offices, 50 Main St.

-- Williamstown Police Department, Town Hall, 31 North St.


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