LEICESTER, Mass. — The Leicester Police Department, Selectboard, and officials from the Central Massachusetts Regional Public Health Alliance unveiled the new year-round prescription drug take-back kiosk at a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday in the police station lobby
The kiosk will permit the drop-off of unused, out-dated, or unwanted prescription drugs 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Leicester Police Chief Jim Hurley said the department has collaborated with Ruth Kaminski and the Recycling Center in five National Prescription Drug Take Backs in the past, during which over 100 pounds of prescription drugs have been turned into the police and destroyed in an environmental safe manner.
The drug take back kiosk will allow residents to drop off anytime, rather than waiting for the yearly national event.
"The kiosk is another tool to help us collect prescription drugs and destroy them which ultimately means they cannot be diverted," Hurley said, explaining that he sees the kiosk as another tool in the Leicester Police Department’s toolbox as it works to combat illegal drug activity.
Hurley added that while the kiosk is a big addition at the department he is not ready to rest, and next on his agenda is the installation of a needle disposal box in box in the lobby. Hurley has already filed the appropriate paperwork seeking permission for the needle disposal box.
"This will provide residents who use needles for medical purposes with an approved drop off site for their needles," he said. "It should also reduce the number of illegally possessed needles that are reported to police as being found discarded in the community as needles can be deposited in the box no questions asked."
Derek Brindisi, Worcester's Director of Public Health, said that these partnerships between the health department and public safety departments were vital.
"We did a youth survey a year-and-a-half ago, and what we're finding is that prescription drug usage is on the rise, especially among high school students," he said. "Five percent of our youth — and this isn't just the city — five percent have identified using heroin at some point in their high school years, and prescription drugs like opiates, percocet, and vicodin are all the gateway drugs. If we can get these out of the homes it can hopefully prevent heroin use down the road."