The Amesbury Beat: It's time to get rid of unused medications


We are definitely seeing the signs of spring now as the grass is getting greener by the day, allergy sufferers are feeling the pollen, and you can’t forget to apply the sunscreen.

Thinking about the season brings to mind the annual tradition of spring cleaning, which I am sure many of us procrastinate with until summer. It is important to take care of one task each April and many local police departments are helping to make it easy.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is hosting the semiannual Drug Take Back Day next Saturday, April 24, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Please visit the Drug Take Back Day website for the nearest location.

The improper use of prescription medications continues to be a contributing factor with overdoses in every community. Unwanted, expired and unused medications do not belong in your home; take a few moments to gather the vials and visit your local collection site.

The medications do not belong in the environment, either; flushing them down the drain eventually leads to water sources despite sanitation efforts. Once collected by local police departments, the medications are brought to the DEA and properly destroyed at regional incinerators.

In Amesbury alone, over 300 pounds of medications were destroyed last year.

The DEA is inviting the public to bring tablets, capsules, patches and solid form medications to the collection sites. The goal of the program is to remove medications, which can be abused or misused from local homes.

Household medications, such as expired Tylenol, creams, sprays and antacids, can be disposed of with your regular trash. Upon reading the DEA press release for this collection, I noticed they are no longer accepting liquids.

To properly dispose of liquids, mix them with cat litter or coffee grounds and place them in a sealed container for regular trash collection.

Sharps, medical devices and intravenous solutions have never been accepted; many communities do have sharps collection boxes, consult with your local board of health or pharmacy for disposal options.

Removing unwanted medications from your home or the home of an older family member is an important spring-cleaning chore. Taking the initiative prevents the opportunity for the medication to end up where it’s not meant to be, such as with someone who is curious or fighting an addiction.

Many older residents are prescribed numerous medications; taking the wrong one or using the incorrect dosage could be confusing and dangerous. Although most of the health news is given to the pandemic, the drug addiction epidemic is still very prevalent in local communities.

For more information about the Drug Take Back Day, please contact your local police department. In Amesbury, Officer Dave Clark may be reached via email at or by calling 978-388-1217 and the collection site will be in the rear parking lot of the police station, 19 School St.

Many departments also provide a drop-off box, which is available 24/7 in case you want to drop off items prior to Drug Take Back Day.


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