A free collection of unwanted medications will be held this Saturday in Northampton at Jackson Street School from 10 am to 1 pm. The event is free and open to all Pioneer Valley residents. Both prescription and over-the-counter medications in solid form will be accepted. Solid household pet medication will also be accepted; liquids, creams, and illegal drugs such as marijuana will not. There is no quantity limit.
The collection, hosted by Northampton's police and public works departments, is part of a new Federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) program called National Take-Back Day. Over 3,400 similar collections will be occurring around the country, all funded by the DEA. Most municipalities cannot afford to organize collections as complicated drug disposal regulations make them expensive to hold. State and federal laws require that police officers accept and handle collected medications and transport them to a licensed incinerator.
It is important to dispose of medication in a safe manner. Never flush medications down the toilet or drain, as wastewater treatment plants and septic systems are not designed to remove pharmaceuticals before the water is released into the environment. If you are unable to participate in the collection event or have liquid and cream medications to dispose of here is an alternate disposal method: 1) Keep all medications in their original packaging, but ink out personal information from the labels that could be used to obtain refills; 2) Render them unattractive to children, pets and thieves by dissolving them in a small amount of water or alcohol (if in dry form) or by pouring in salt or sand (if in liquid form); 3) Place them in two layers of sealed plastic bags; and 4) Conceal the bag in your trash. If you have large quantities of medications, consider disposing of them in small batches over time.
For more information visit nationaltakebackday.com or contact Recycling Coordinator Susan Waite at 413-259-3049.