National Prescription Drug Collection Day is Oct. 24. In Bennington County, medications may be safely and properly disposed year-round during lobby hours at eight area collection locations: Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, Manchester Police Department, Bennington County Sheriff’s Department, Bennington Police Department, The Pharmacy, The Pharmacy Northshire, Green Mountain Pharmacy, and Winhall Police and Rescue. Locked and secured medication collection boxes are located inside each of the listed locations.
Collection sites will follow local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations.
“With the amount of families who are working from home and or students participating in remote learning, it is important more than ever to make sure we are keeping our homes safe, said Lt. Cam Grande of the Bennington Police Department. “We can make our homes safer by securing our medications and dropping off unused medications to your local drug take back containers on October 24, 2020.”
Medication collection boxes allow people to safely prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of unused prescription drugs. Medicines that are stored in home cabinets, or kitchen counters or on dining tables are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse, according to The Collaborative, an organization that focuses on promoting healthy communities and substance free youth through education, programming, environmental strategies and policy development in Bennington County, western Windham County and southern Windsor County.
“Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs,” The Collaborative said in a statement. “Properly and safely disposing medications in a collection box decreases access by a non-prescribed user and avoids medications getting into drinking water systems and streams.”
All locations accept pills. To dispose of liquid medications, call the agency for instructions. Disposal is anonymous, but people are advised to cross out confidential information on medication containers with a black permanent marker.
Since 2017, 2,925 pounds of unused medications have been collected in Bennington County. Last fall, Americans turned in nearly 883,000 pounds of prescription drugs at 6,300 sites operated by the DEA and almost 5,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners.
“Disposing unused medications is one step to preventing opioid and stimulant medication misuse,” The Collaborative said. “Speaking with medical staff about prescription use and dosage plays an integral role in safe use. Storing medications securely is a third step people can take to reduce medication access by non-prescribed users and prevent theft.”
Ten years ago, Bennington County with the support of Bennington County Sheriff’s Department, Bennington Police and Manchester Police, became the first county in Vermont to establish medication disposal boxes. SVMC was the first 24-hour non-law enforcement medication collection site in the United States with a medication collection box located in the hospital’s lobby.
For more information on Vermont’s medication disposal initiatives, visit www.healthvermont.gov/alcohol-drugs/services/prescription-drug-disposal or call The Collaborative 802-824-4200.