Arlington Police Provide Update on Medication Disposal Drop Box

Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019

For Immediate Release

Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Phone: 617-993-0003
Email: [email protected]

Arlington Police Provide Update on Medication Disposal Drop Box

Thousands of Pounds of Unused Prescription Drugs Disposed of Since 2012

ARLINGTON — Acting Chief Julie Flaherty and Arlington Youth Health and Safety Coalition (AYHSC) Director Karen Koretsky wish to share an update on the success of the community’s Medication Disposal Drop Box.

In June 2012, the Arlington Police Department, in partnership with the AYHSC, installed a Medication Disposal Drop Box in the lobby of the Arlington Police Headquarters. The drop box allows Arlington residents to dispose of unused, unwanted or expired medications. The secure collection box is available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.

Every six weeks APD’s Property Officer/Inspector takes the unwanted drugs that have been collected to a local incinerator for destruction, which helps to keep substances out of landfills or from being flushed down the drain. On average, the Inspector delivers approximately 220 pounds of medications to the incinerator every six weeks.

The department estimates that 1,900 pounds of unwanted medications are disposed of each year. Since the installation of the disposal box in 2012, an estimated 14,000 pounds of unwanted medications have been collected and destroyed.

“The collection site has fulfilled the need for an environmentally sound medication disposal option which helps to ensure that excess medications are kept out of the hands of people not meant to have them,” Acting Chief Flaherty said.

The collection box is part of Arlington’s continued efforts to reduce the supply of unwanted medications, especially those with a high potential for misuse, within the community.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2017, an estimated 18 million people misused prescription medications at least once during the previous year. Among youth, prescription drugs are the most widely abused illicit drugs after alcohol, marijuana and tobacco. Furthermore, studies show that the majority of youth obtain prescription drugs from friends and relatives, often without their knowledge.

Along with the 24/7 drop box, Arlington Police have participated in each of the DEA Drug Take Back events since September 2010. Since their first year participating, the department has taken in and disposed of approximately 2,500 pounds of medication.

APD and AYHSC also take steps to educate the community on the importance of properly disposing of medications.

“This multi-faceted approach to medication disposal is a fantastic initiative where several local partners work together to help improve the safety of the community and the environment,” Director Koretsky said. “September is recognized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as National Recovery Month, so this is a great time to raise awareness for proper medication disposal and its impact on preventing and reducing prescription drug abuse.”