Take Back Day collects 46 tons of drugs around New England

Jackson police (from left) Patrol Officer Martin Bourque and Sgt. Nathan Boothby and Conway police Sgt. Bill Strong staff the Drug Take Back Day table at Jackson Grammar School on Oct. 26. (TERRY LEAVITT PHOTO)

CONWAY — The final tally is in from the 18th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Oct. 26, and Mount Washington Valley did its part in gathering up the tons of expired and unwanted prescription drugs in New England.

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s New England Field Division reported this week that it and its partners in local law enforcement collected 92,875 pounds or over 46 tons of expired, unused, unwanted prescription drugs, electronic vaping devices and cartridges at 606 collection sites throughout New England. 

In one of several local collection events, Jackson and Conway police departments partnered for a take-back event at Jackson Grammar School.

Jackson police Sgt. Nathan Boothby reported a busy day with five boxes of drugs collected in Jackson. The police didn’t have a scale to weigh the collection, but Boothby estimated that it was between 125 and 150 pounds worth of drugs.

“It’s up from last year, so I think people are making an effort,” he said.

Other police departments and health care agencies around Carroll County also participated in the Drug Take Back Day.

Maine led New England states, collected 31,180 pounds of drugs, followed by Massachusetts at 30,959 pounds and then New Hampshire with 12,266 pounds of drugs. Vermont collected 6,734 pounds; Connecticutt, 6,958 pounds; and Rhode Island, 4,778 pounds.

The amount of material collected over the past decade since the first National Prescription Drug Take Back Day in September 2010. During that first take-back event, the division collected 25,810 pounds of unwanted drugs.

The event was created to provide a safe way to dispose of expired or unused medications and get them out of homes where they could be misused or stolen. DEA reports that most abused prescription drugs were taken from family and fiends.

“Thanks to the public 46 tons of unwanted, expired, unused, unwanted prescription drugs, electronic vaping devices and cartridges have now been taken out of harm’s way across New England,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Boyle. “These events are only made possible through the hard work of our law enforcement, coalitions and community partners and DEA thanks each and every one of them for their efforts.”

The next national Drug Take Back Day is planned for April 2020.

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