Edgartown police provide safe place to drop old pills

Edgartown police chief Tony Bettencourt with a new prescription medication drop box in the lobby of the police station. — Photo by Steve Myrick

Edgartown residents who want to safely and securely discard old prescription medications can now drop them off at the police department.

This week the department set up a special drop box in the lobby of the Edgartown Police station located at 72 Pease’s Point Way. Old prescription medications can be discarded during business hours, or after hours by contacting a police officer.

“This is a proactive approach,” police chief Tony Bettencourt said. “We’re going to encourage everyone to clean out their old pharmaceuticals.”

The board of health purchased the drop box after a discussion and vote on December 13.

Police will accept all prescription medications and samples, all over-the-counter medications, vitamins, pet medications, medicated ointments, and liquid medication in leak-proof containers.

Items that cannot be discarded at the drop box include thermometers, syringes, IV bags, bloody or infectious waste, hydrogen peroxide, aerosol cans or inhalers.

Prescription drug abuse is a significant public health problem on Martha’s Vineyard. Edgartown police said they devote much of their resources to investigate house breaks where thieves steal prescription medications. Police recently arrested a woman who admitted she entered houses in three towns to steal prescription narcotics.

Officer Mike Snowden said he hopes residents will take advantage of the pill drop box, so thieves will have nothing to steal. “Somebody might think twice about coming into Edgartown and breaking into a house,” he said.