Hopkinton's New Drug Collection Unit Now in Place

Stephanie's picture

No, it's not a recycling bin that now sits in the lobby of the police station, although part of its purpose is to keep Hopkinton green. But, instead it is a Drug Collection Unit (DCU), which will now make it more convenient for residents to properly dispose of unwanted prescription drugs.

Before the May 30th installation of the DCU, residents had the opportunity to discard their prescription drugs twice a year during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, an initiative developed by the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2010. Now, residents have access 24/7 to drop off prescription drugs at the police station, and can do so in a manner that is safe and anonymous.

Oftentimes, people don't always know how to properly dispose of their unwanted prescription drugs, and therefore do so in ways that can harm the environment. Middlesex County District Attorney Gerry Leone believes that the DCU will help curb this issue.

However, the DCU is meant for legal prescription drugs only, not illegal substances. And items such as thermometers, needles, and liquids cannot be put into it for safety reasons. Currently, Hopkinton is one of 29 communities in Middlesex County with a DCU. The units were funded by the DA's office through drug forfeiture funds.

Ultimately, DA Leone hopes that the initiative to install DCUs in communities will allow for prescription drugs to only be in the hands of those who they were prescribed for. According to DA Leone, prescription drug abuse is the number one fastest growing drug problem in the U.S. A press release sent out by the DA's office sites that "more than 70 percent of people who abused prescription pain killers got them from relatives or friends". And the problem is becoming more prevalent among teenagers, where " two in five teens believe that prescription drugs are safer than illegal drugs".