Medicine cabinet cleanups exceed expectations

— Photo by Steve Myrick

Saying that the success of a prescription medication collection program continues to surprise them, Edgartown police offered thanks to thousands of residents for eliminating an attraction for criminals by cleaning out their medicine cabinets.

Last month Drug Enforcement Administration agents traveled to Martha’s Vineyard to collect several large bags full of old and unwanted prescriptions collected at the Edgartown police station. The agents will transport the medications to a facility where they can be safely incinerated.

Edgartown police installed a secure drop box in the station lobby this past February, and have seen a steady stream of people drop off medications for safe disposal.

“The drop box overfilled two or three times,” Sgt. Craig Edwards said. “Last Saturday was the second time the DEA collected from our box.”

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 that much of their resources are used 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.