By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(March 21, 2019) Berlin Police are spreading the word about a free and anonymous prescription drug take-back program at the new station on 129 Decatur Street, near the corner of Flower Street and Assateague Road.
Police Chief Arnold Downing said the drug drop-box inside the lobby has been a permanent fixture since last May.
“We were doing [the program] annually or twice a year, and would set up an officer and people would only have a day to drop off drugs,” he said of the department’s previous approach.
From last May until November, police collected about 32 pounds of unwanted and expired medicine that was taken to Worcester County Animal Control and incinerated, Downing said.
“We’re attempting to get the word out now and even beat that number,” Downing said. “We just really want to tell everybody that, with spring, it’s time for spring cleaning and it’s a great opportunity to go ahead and clean out the medicine cabinets.”
Prescription drugs may be dropped off 24 hours a day, with no fees and no questions asked. No sharp objects, including needles, may be disposed of and no liquids or radiology drugs can be accepted. Illicit drugs also cannot be accepted.
For standard prescription drugs, including pills and patches, “Just come with your bag, and open up the box and drop it on in,” Downing said.
“People can come in any time, 24 hours a day,” he continued. “If you’re doing some late-night cleaning or driving to or from work and you have something to be disposed of, just drop right on in.”
Downing said the program offers several benefits.
For one, he said drugs that are flushed or tossed down the drain could damage the water supply.
“Drugs themselves are not supposed to be flushed down the toilet … and can damage our ecosystem,” Downing said.
“The other thing is, children can get into drugs that just sit around,” he continued. “We definitely have a strong history of children having ‘pill parties,’ where they just take any old kind of pills, put them inside of a bowl, and the kids take them at parties and have no clue what they are.”
Taking expired medicines is an unwise choice as well, Downing said.
“If you have medicine that you think is good for you and working for you, it might not have the same potency,” he said. “All of those are good reasons why you want to go ahead and drop your medicine off and dispose of it in the proper way, and to eliminate the chance of someone trying to get into your home for the medicine that you have, especially those pain medicines that some individuals have on hand.
“It’s a resource that we have here and we definitely think it’s benefit to the community,” Downing added.