D.A. Leone and Police Chiefs Address the Dangers of Unused Prescription Drugs

For Immediate Release May 11, 2012
Contact: MaryBeth Long
781-897-8325

D.A. Leone and local police unveil new drug collection units

WOBURN- Middlesex County residents will now have a free, safe method to dispose of unused or expired prescription medication thanks to a new drug collection program announced today by Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone.

MedReturn Drug Collection Units will be delivered by today to 29 police departments in Middlesex County.  The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office purchased the units for the departments through drug forfeiture funds, which can be used for the purpose of drug rehabilitation, drug education and other anti-drug efforts.

“Illegal use of prescription drugs is the nation’s fastest growing drug problem,” DA Leone said.  “Our aim is to assure that prescription drugs are only in the hands of those who they are prescribed for, and not in the hands of young people who have easy access family medicine cabinets where they can use and abuse them.  These new drug collection units provide an effective and convenient method for disposal of unwanted medications without harming our environment, and keeping powerful addictive drugs off of the streets.”

The effort is part of the District Attorney’s goal to address issues of substance abuse among young people.  An estimated 2.4 million Americans misused prescription drugs for the first time within the past year, and about a third of those users were age 12 to 17, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The drug collection units will be placed at each local police station.  Medication can be disposed of anonymously at any time.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic.  According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Heath, more than 70 percent of people who abused prescription pain killers got them from relatives or friends. Additionally, the study reports, more and more opiate overdoses are now a result of prescription painkillers.

Every day, on average, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.  The DEA also reports that 56 percent of teens say prescription drugs are easier to get than illicit drugs.  Two in five teens believe that prescription drugs are safer than illegal drugs.

The 29 towns in Middlesex County receiving the units are: Acton, Ayer, Belmont, Boxborough, Burlington, Carlisle, Everett, Groton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hudson, Lincoln, Littleton, Malden, Marlborough, Maynard, Melrose, North Reading, Pepperell, Reading, Sherborn, Somerville, Stow, Wakefield, Watertown, Wayland, Weston, Wilmington, and Woburn.

Middlesex County is the largest county in Massachusetts and one of the largest counties in the country with 54 towns and cities and 26 colleges in urban, suburban, and rural areas, comprising over one quarter of the population of Massachusetts.  The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office has offices throughout the county, including communities such as Ayer, Cambridge, Concord, Framingham, Lowell, Malden, Marlborough, Natick, Newton, Somerville, Waltham and Woburn.

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