District collects 3,500 pounds of prescription drugs

  • A resident drops off drugs to an officer at Wildwood Schol in Amherst as a dog in the backseat looks on. —Submitted Photo

Staff Writer
Published: 10/25/2020 8:08:53 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A record-breaking amount of unused and expired drugs and medications from area residents, totaling just short of 2 tons, was collected at the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Saturday.

The Northwestern district attorney’s office reported that the 19th annual event, staged at police stations and other sites throughout the region, collected 3,533 pounds of unused, unwanted and expired drugs, a 50% increase over the typical collection.

In Hampshire County, 2,629 pounds of drugs were dropped off, while in Franklin County and Athol the collection netted 894 pounds.

“We’re so grateful to all the police departments and community members for participating in such an important event,” Maria Sotolongo, director of the Drug Diversion & Treatment Program for the district attorney’s office, said in a statement.

At each location, police officers and other law enforcement officials welcomed people in a drive-through format to promote safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mary Carey, spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said it was uncertain why so much product was collected, observing that a collection in spring 2012 netted the previous high at 3,144 pounds. But Carey noted that the collection in April was canceled.

The last time Drug Take Back Day was held, Oct. 26, 2019, 2,108 pounds were collected locally.

Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan said the national crisis of addiction and drug overdoses has continued during the pandemic.

“Data from our office show that opioid-related overdoses in Hampshire and Franklin counties have increased 15 percent during the first four months of 2020, compared to 2019,” Sullivan said.

The drugs will be transported to Community Eco Power in Agawam for incineration.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2020 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy