County-wide Effort Seeks to Collect Unused Prescription Meds in Berkshires

Sep 20, 2012

Next week, Berkshire residents can safely dispose their old and unused prescription medications in a county-wide effort to reduce drug abuse and addiction. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

On Saturday, September 29th, officials and organizations throughout Berkshire County are cooperating in their sixth semi-annual drive to reduce and safely dispose unused prescription meds. Lois Daunis of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition says her organization is just one of the parties organizing and participating in the event.

On each of the sites throughout Berkshire County, Daunis says that a police officer will be on hand at each site, as well a pharmacist to answer questions, and volunteers from Berkshire Community College.

Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless previously told WAMC that prescription drug abuse is not only a problem that affects the Berkshires, but also is a growing problem across the country. Capeless said that the sheer volume of medications prescribed account for the problem.

Capeless praised Berkshire Health System’s Pain Management Program, which works to educate the public and members of the medical community about the safe handling of medications. However, despite many of the efforts that communities can take, prescription drug abuse remains an increasing problem.

Abuse of prescription pain-killers can lead to serious addiction, and can often lead to street drugs such as heroin. 

Karen Cole of the Pittsfield Prevention Partnership says that the prescription drug round-up is important for protecting area teens from drug abuse. Cole says that many teens may be unaware of the dangers of prescription medicine when not taken properly, and parents must do their part to prevent teens from getting a hold of the drugs.

The Pittsfield Prevention Partnership surveys teen drug abuse, but Karen Cole says that by word of mouth, they believe that teens may abuse drugs primarily used for treating attention deficit -hyperactivity disorder.

13 drop-off locations will be open on Saturday, September 29th throughout Berkshire County. Hours are from 10 am to 2 pm. Safe prescription disposal lock boxes are also located in police stations, including Williamstown, North Adams,

Pittsfield, and Great Barrington.