Local police join forces for prescription drug collection


April 27, 2011
TILTON — Lt. Ryan Martin of the Tilton Police Department announced last week that plans are underway for a local Drug Take-Back Program scheduled to take place from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 30.

"We'll be set up in front of Hannaford's Supermarket on the Tilton-Franklin town line for residents (of the Lakes Region) to bring their expired or unused prescription drugs for us to dispose of," Martin said.

Through their joint participation, the two local departments hope to alleviate some of the prescription drug abuse in the region and make life safer for residents.

The first Drug Take-Back day was held last September during a nationwide Drug Enforcement Agency initiative to offer a safe means in which to dispose of unwanted prescription medications. Martin said that inaugural event was such a success, it inspired the DEA to continue with the program. Last year, 50 New Hampshire agencies participated, removing hundreds of pounds of drugs from homes, and many departments will again offer the service this weekend.

Martin said there are many circumstances where parents and grandparents, and sometimes even children, receive legitimate prescriptions that are not used up by the patient, and are left lingering in cabinets around their homes. This is a concern of the DEA, as prescription drug abuse is on the rise.

"Some of these old prescriptions have been in homes for years, and the whole idea is to get these medications off the streets and away from the hands of children or grandchildren who perhaps may get access to them. We're looking to curtail drug addiction and abuse," he said.

A previous practice of flushing unwanted pills and liquids down the drain has created water quality problems, and is no longer recommended by police, pharmacies or the DEA. Several local pharmacies participate year round in the national Drug Take Back program, but cannot always accept controlled substances such as pain killers, certain anxiety medications and other highly abused drugs intended for attention deficit disorder and other conditions.

"We'll be equipped to handle all of those drugs. All people need to do is bring them down for us to dispose of them properly," said Martin.

Residents of any community in the Lakes Region who do not have a Drug Take-Back program scheduled in their towns are also permitted to bring their old medications to the Tilton-Franklin site. Other nearby locations where officials will be accepting unused prescriptions are the New Hampton Fire Department on Route 104, just off Exit 23 of Interstate 93; the Alexandria Transfer Station off Route 104 in Alexandria; and at the Moultonboro, Ashland, Plymouth, Center Ossipee and Wolfeboro police departments, as well as the Troop E headquarters of the N.H. State Police at 1864 White Mountain Highway in Tamworth.

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