BENNINGTON — Consider going through cabinets to get rid of unused, expired and unwanted medications for the National Take-Back Day on April 30.
On Saturday the Bennington Police Department and Sheriff's Office will be at CVS Pharmacy on 8 Kocher Drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. collecting expired and unused medication. After, authority will drive to Manchester to gather its collections and then transport filled boxes to the Drug Enforcement Administration in Rutland to be disposed.
Both public safety departments have a drop-off box that can be utilized 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This helps reduce the amount collected on the take-back days that happen twice a year, with the second occurring in the fall.
"You don't really think how much 25 or 50 or 100 pounds of prescriptions, depending on your evidence room, that's considerable space dedicated for six month to that stuff and there's concern about spillage or droppage," The Collaborative Tobacco Coordinator Victoria Silsby said during a Prescription Drug Task Force meeting in March, acknowledging the lack drug disposal availability in between take-back days.
On May 14 there will be a house hazardous waste event from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Bennington Transfer Station at 904 Houghton Lane. This is for Bennington County residents to collect any substances that are caustic, toxic, corrosive, poisonous, flammable, dangerous, and cannot be used in an open environment or has labels that say 'warning' or 'caution.' Items include sharp needles, dried and hardened latex paint, radioactive materials, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors or explosives, which cannot be collected on take-back day.
This event is sponsored by the Bennington County Solid Waste Alliance, the Town of Bennington, Casella Waste Management, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, according to the Town of Pownal website. The collection is free for residents with a proof of residency, however small businesses must register and prepay for the disposed amount by May 6.
"Right now we're [Bennington Police Department] taking just about everything. We try and shy people away from putting sharps in there, but we wind up with sharps also," Bennington Police Lieutenant David Dutcher said. He filled nine boxes just on Wednesday.
In a poll done by CVS Health and Morning Consult, 72 percent of respondents showed interest in drug take-back day in their community while 33 percent responded that they knew the proper way to dispose of unwanted, unused or expired medication. On the other hand, 50 percent do not get rid of their medications, according to a release from CVS Pharmacy.
National take-back day's focus is to promote the awareness of safe, convenient and responsible ways to dispose of medication, that could be potentially abused otherwise. It was established in 2010.
In 2014, Bennington County was the second in the state, and third last year, for the most medications collected.
Funding to provide take-back boxes is granted by the Partnerships for Success (PFS).
In 2014 a national survey on drug use and health done by the Vermont Department of Health showed that there was a rise in the amount of people treated for opiate use problems from 2005 to 2013 from about 1000 to 2596 people. As a result, there has been a decline in 18 to 25-year-olds non-medically using pain relievers at 12 percent in 2012 from a steady 13 to 15 percent in years prior.
Nearby Troy-Rensselaer County will collect during the same time in conjunction with its Underage Drinking Coalition. Disposing sites will be located at the Rensselaer County Sheriff's Department, East Greenbush Police Department, Hoosick Falls Police Department, Schodack Police Department, Rensselaer City Police Department, Troy Police Department and the New York State Police Department in Castleton.
For information on take-back locations, visit deadiversion.usdoj.gov.
—Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.