Got some old pain pills in your medicine cabinet? The Milton Police Department is asking you to turn them in this weekend.
The effort is part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s national Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, Sept. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Milton PD lobby.
The program is anonymous, said Russell Harrington, Burlington DEA’s resident agent-in-charge.
“No questions asked: just come and drop off your drugs, and be on your way,” he said.
Both Harrington and Milton PD chief Brett Van Noordt said the program is to divert drugs like Oxycontin from being sold on the street, a crime that’s on the rise in Milton, Vermont and the U.S.
Many dealers use a method called “doctor shopping” to distribute the pills: they obtain prescriptions from several doctors and sell them illegally, Harrington said.
He also provided some statistics that he called “alarming”: In 2008, one in seven Americans age 12 and older use prescription drugs to get high, and 60 percent of abusers in that age group did so before age 15.
In Milton, 20 percent of high school juniors and seniors had used a pain reliever like Oxycontin or Vicodin that was not prescribed to them, according to the 2009 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
Getting rid of expired or unused drugs is also important to prevent misuse or accidental overdoses, Harrington said.
“If you don’t need it in your medicine cabinet, get it out of your house,” he said.
Other prescriptions like cough syrups or intravenous drugs are not accepted. Police will incinerate the pills, a better form of disposal than people flushing them, Van Noordt said.
“After it’s processed by a sewer plant, [the drug] goes back into the rivers, lakes and groundwater,” he said. “They’re seeing trace amounts of different types of drugs.”
Harrington encouraged residents to take part in the program.
“Let’s try to help each other out in the community and get rid of these drugs that we don’t need,” he said.