Hampshire, Franklin county residents return 1 ton of drugs at Saturday’s regional collection day

  • Drugs turned in at participating National Prescription Drug Take Back Day collection sites in Hampshire and Franklin counties on Saturday, Oct. 29 weighed in at 1,935 pounds. NORTHWESTERN DA OFFICE

  • Dave Fenton, deputy sheriff and crime prevention officer for the Hampshire County Sheriff’s office, unloads a box of drugs collected at National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 29, at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School. NORTHWESTERN DA OFFICE

Staff Writer
Published: 11/1/2022 8:06:19 PM
Modified: 11/1/2022 8:06:00 PM

GREENFIELD — Residents turned in nearly a ton of drugs Saturday at the 13 participating National Prescription Drug Take Back Day collection sites in Hampshire and Franklin counties.

Hampshire County communities taking part were Amherst, Belchertown, Easthampton, Hadley, Northampton, Pelham, South Hadley, Williamsburg and Worthington. In Franklin County, Deerfield, Greenfield, Montague and Sunderland participated.

South Hadley’s site collected the largest amount of drugs by weight at 379 pounds. The town’s Police Department has a drop-off site inside its lobby that is always busy, according to Steve Fleming, director of the South Hadley Drug & Alcohol Prevention Coalition and retired South Hadley police officer.

“This Saturday wasn’t as busy as the springtime for us, but I’d attribute that to the fact that many got rid of the stockpile of prescriptions they likely accrued during COVID — people definitely got rid of a lot,” Fleming said.

The coalition also provided 20 free lockboxes for medicine and/or cannabis to residents at the South Hadley collection site that were purchased by the town’s Board of Health. At a previous event, the coalition provided 30 lockboxes.

“We’ve always been very successful in our drug takeback events,” he said.

The Northwestern district attorney’s office collaborates with the Hampshire and Franklin sheriff’s offices, county-based TRIAD initiatives, local police departments and the national Drug Enforcement Agency to hold the event twice a year.

Last weekend’s Drug Take Back collection weighed in at 1,935 pounds — nearly 300 pounds more than was collected at the spring event.

The event serves as an ongoing community education process and provides a key strategy to reducing overdose death rates, according to Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan.

“Our office works with law enforcement partners and community coalitions to remove drugs from the community in an effort to prevent drug diversion that poses grave risks to young people and people in recovery,” Sullivan said in a statement.

Since 2011, collection days combined with permanent drug collection boxes at most area police departments in Hampshire and Franklin counties and Athol have safely disposed of more than 65,500 pounds of unneeded prescription and nonprescription drugs.

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