If you have expired pills or prescription drugs you no longer take, Tewksbury Police has a message for you.
Don't throw them away!
Instead, Sheehan is encouraging residents to participate in the TPD's first Prescription Drug Takeback program on Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at
In a press release, Sheehan described the program as, "opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs."
According to Sheehan, the program is free and there are no questions asked.
The program is being overseen by , in a coordinated effort with Director of Public Health Lou-Ann Clement. According to Welch, the program has been successful when it has been conducted in other communities.
"The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) did a takeback program last fall and it was a huge success," said Welch. "Unfortunately, we weren't able to take part in that one."
According to DEA statistics, Americans turned in 242,000 pounds—121 tons—of prescription drugs at nearly 4,100 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,000 state and local law enforcement partners during the takeback program in September.
Welch said the program fills a real need in the community, as the police often get calls from residents wondering how they should safely dispose of prescription narcotics. She said sometimes a person is off a prescription and other times the medications belonged to a person who has since passed away.
Prescription and non-prescription pills are accepted in the takeback program. Liquids are not accepted. Neither are needles and patches.
According to Welch, there are several safety benefits to ridding your home of unneeded medications. Not only does it prevent potential tragedy if they got into the hands of curious children, but it also removes a target from a would-be burglar.
From a public health standpoint, the takeback program offers an alternative to throwing pills in the trash or flushing them down the toilet, where they could contaminate soil or the water supply.
Dropping off the pills at Police Headquarters on Saturday takes just a few minutes.
"It's going to be set up in the training room (at police headquarters)," said Welch. "All people have to do is just come in and drop the pills into a container.
"There will be two officers there to supervise. We give all of the drugs to the DEA and they dispose of them."