Area towns, police readying for National Drug Take-Back Day

Westerly police collected 179.5 pounds of unused or unwanted medications during the Drug Enforcement Administration's fall National Drug Take Back Day last Saturday.

The collection was held at more than 600 collection sites nationwide from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 26. The federal agency worked with many law enforcement agencies, including departments in Westerly, Stonington, Richmond, Hopkinton and Charlestown, as well as the Connecticut and Rhode Island State Police. The twice-a-year disposal service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked.

"This year, for the first time, we partnered with Walmart and were able to host a collection not only at our station, but right at the store's entrance," said Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey. "It allowed us to get the word out and in cases where people weren't aware of available services, it let us draw attention to the 24-7 secure collection available in our front lobby."

Richmond turned over to the DEA 85.5 pounds of drugs after the recent collection, a total that included medications dropped off on Saturday and drugs dropped into a secured box in the front lobby of the police station over the past several months.

Richmond Police Chief Elwood M. Johnson Jr. said there were no unusual substances this year, although the department did come across sharps and other items it could not collect. Last year, in contrast, the department received end-of-life fentanyl pain management patches.

In Hopkinton, Police Capt. Mark Carrier said about 57 pounds of medications were collected in the latest take back. 

In Stonington, police Capt. Todd Olson said that about a dozen people came in on Saturday and dropped off about 15 pounds of medications. "We brought that, as well as what we had from our drop box, up to the DEA pickup location at Norwich PD," he said, with the total amounting to 249.6 pounds of medications.

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