By James D. Mitchell
Prescription drug abuse has gained national attention over the past decade, running alongside drug overdoses by large numbers of youth every day in news outlets across the country. Prescription drugs, found in just about every medicine cabinet, can be just as hazardous as a loaded gun carelessly left out for a child to find.
According to statistics, 2,500 youths age 12 to 17 abuse a pain reliever for the very first time every day. But Saugus hopes to find a way to combat prescription drug abuse in the community.
Last Thursday Lt. Ronald Giorgetti of the Saugus PD unveiled a prescription drug kiosk, much like a secure mailbox, located just inside the doors of the Saugus police station at 27 Hamilton Street. The kiosk, which will be available to residents 24-hours-a-day, will allow for the proper disposal of medications, medication samples, over-the-counter meds, vitamins, syrups, ointments, lotions, and inhalers.
Thanks to an $800 grant funded by the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators and ENCO Pharmaceuticals, the kiosk will provide residents with a proper way to dispose of their medications.
“We hope to prevent children and pets from accidental poisonings and to prevent prescription drug abuse,” said Giorgetti.
Another kudo for the kiosk will be the prevention of environmental pollution. Many people think it is acceptable to flush their unused prescription medications down the drain or toilet. But Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards now prohibit such actions, because they can cause contamination of drinking water and natural waterways.
Giorgetto stated that residents who choose to use the kiosk should remove all labeling or black-out the patient’s name from the drug containers to protect their personal information.
A sign above the kiosk also explains what not to drop into the kiosk: any sharps like needles, syringes, or lancets; any mercury or cadmium products like batteries or thermometers; medical waste items like IV bags, used bandages, gowns, or bio-hazardous items; aerosol cans; chemicals or disinfectants; and personal care products like medicated shampoo.
Incidentally, sharps such as syringes and needles can be dropped off at a collection box located at the Board of Health Department inside Town Hall.