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New Drug Collection Unit Offers Safe Disposal for Concord Residents
 Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, Concord Police Chief Joseph O'Connor and Public Works Director Richard Reine announce that Concord residents now have access to safe, free disposal of unwanted or expired prescription drugs as part of the Middlesex Drug Take-Back Program, a county-wide effort to reduce prescription drug abuse and addiction.

The Middlesex District Attorneys Office purchased a MedReturn Drug Collection Unit for the Town of Concord using drug forfeiture funds. These funds are designated for use by the District Attorneys Office for drug rehabilitation, drug education and other anti-drug efforts.

Middlesex County and the entire Commonwealth have been battling a frightening epidemic of drug abuse. We have a seen an increase in overdoses and fatal overdoses due in part to an influx of heroin that is believed to be laced with fentanyl, a powerful drug that can cause respiratory failure, District Attorney Ryan said. There is a direct connection between illegal prescription drug abuse and heroin use. Many people who start abusing painkillers and other medications often find themselves turning to heroin for a cheaper, stronger high. The drug collection unit is one prevention measure that can be very effective in ensuring that children and teens do not have access to powerful prescription narcotics that could lead them down a path toward addiction.

In addition to purchasing Drug Collection Units, District Attorney Ryan has developed programs educating young people about the dangers of drug use, and is working to expand treatment opportunities for those battling addiction, as well as prosecuting those responsible for bringing drugs into our communities.

More than 37 communities in Middlesex County have received a drug collection box through the District Attorneys program since 2012.

The MedReturn Drug Collection Unit will provide our community a location to safely dispose of unused or expired medications at any time, said Chief OConnor. This is another example of our Department working with the Middlesex District Attorneys Office and our residents to reduce access to drugs.

Public Works Director Richard Reine said, I am extremely pleased to see this partnership with the District Attorneys office and the Town of Concord Police Department. This initiative will further complement the efforts that Concord Public Works and REUSIT have put in place with its unused and unwanted medication collection events at the biannual Drop off-Swap off events. This program will result in increased environmental protection and continued safeguarding of the Towns water supply.

Unused or expired medications can be disposed of 24 hours a day at the Concord Police Station, 219 Walden Street.

Along with the statewide surge in heroin, prescription drug abuse remains an epidemic. This year in Middlesex County, more than 81 people have died of drug overdoses from heroin and opiates, including prescription drugs.

A National Institute on Drug Abuse study released in January 2014 found that 52 million people over age 12 have used prescription drugs non-medically in their lifetime. Additionally, 54 percent of people who use prescription drugs say they obtain them free from friends or family, and another 16 percent say they bought or stole the drugs from a friend or relative. More than 62 percent of teens surveyed said prescription drugs are easy to get from their parents medicine cabinet.

Every day, on average, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The DEA also reports that 56 percent of teens say prescription drugs are easier to get than illicit drugs. Two in five teens believe that prescription drugs are safer than illegal drugs.

Middlesex County is the largest county in Massachusetts and one of the largest counties in the country with 54 cities and towns and 26 colleges in urban, suburban, and rural areas, comprising over one quarter of the population of Massachusetts. The Middlesex District Attorneys Office has offices througout the county, including in Ayer, Cambridge, Concord, Framingham, Lowell, Malden, Marlborough, Newton, Somerville, Waltham and Woburn.


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