Prescription for success

To the Editor:

On Saturday, April 30, the Tisbury Police department was one of 5,300 drop-off sites throughout the United States that participated in the National Prescription Take Back Day 2011. Officer Joseph Ballotte and I set up our drop-off location outside at the flag pole in front of the Tisbury Police Department building. We had members of the Tisbury community coming to the station as early as 7 am to drop-off their unwanted or outdated prescriptions on their way to the SSA.

I received a call from an elderly woman who could not transport herself to the drop-off location, so Officer Ballotte and I went to her house and picked up a large bag of unwanted prescriptions from her and brought it back to the drop-off site. The event began at 10 am as scheduled and we were overwhelmed at the community support and turnout throughout the day.

We had people from all walks of life turn out for the event, and everyone was appreciative of the opportunity to participate in the program, as much as we were appreciative to have drugs that could result in potential theft and abuse off the street and out of the households.

We collected approximately 350-400 prescriptions from anonymous Tisbury residents, ranging from over the counter medications that were expired to large amounts of frequently abused narcotics such as Oxycontin, oxycodone, percocets, and Valium.

The Martha’s Vineyard community has an ever-growing prescription abuse problem, as does the entire country, and it was great to see these unused prescriptions out of households and off the street where they could be accessible to potential abusers or potentially dangerous if left in a family’s medicine cabinet.

We also had many prescriptions dropped off left over from the 1980s that were left in houses from previous owners or from family members who had died. We also collected unwanted prescriptions from as far away as Scotland.

An agent from the DEA came over to Tisbury Police Department to collect the prescriptions on Monday afternoon, to properly destroy them.

I’d like to thank The Martha’s Vineyard Times for its coverage (April 28, “Island police sponsor pill disposal day“) as well as Tisbury residents for their support and turnout at Saturday’s event, helping us collect the unused and unwanted prescription drugs. We anticipate another prescription take back day in 2011.

Dustin Shaw

Tisbury Police Department