Hingham Police want parents to pop expired, unwanted and unused prescription and over-the- counter pills into disposal bins instead of having the drugs possibly wind up in the mouths of curious adolescents and teenagers.
Dubbed “Operation Safe Medicine Cabinet,” police are asking residents to empty their medicine cabinets and other places where prescription and over-the-counter tablets are kept, and bring them to the police station during a pill-collection day on Oct. 24.
Sergeant Steven Dearth, who helped organize the event, said the most common place middle and high school students get prescription pain killers, antidepressants, and other pills is from the medicine cabinets of relatives and friends.
“That’s easy access,” Dearth said.
The collection will be held at police headquarters at 212 Central St., Saturday, Oct. 24, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
It is open to all residents, and the names of those who turn them in will remain confidential.
Names from bottle labels will be destroyed, Dearth said, and pills that are prescription or considered scheduled drugs will be separated into controlled bins and removed for proper disposal according to the law.
A pharmacist from Hingham Centre Pharmacy has donated time to identify and inventory the turned-in pills, something required by regulations for holding a pill disposal collection, Dearth said.
CVS Pharmacy has donated $5 coupons for those who turn in any unwanted pills. Dearth said coupons will be given out while supplies last.
Non-prescription drugs, such as Tylenol, ibuprofen, or aspirin that have expired will be put in other bins and brought to waste-disposal facilities where they are thrown out, but do not get into the environment.
Dearth said the event is being held not only to raise awareness about access to prescription drugs in the home, but also for proper disposal awareness.
“Back in the old days we always just flushed them, but now the [state Department of Environmental Protection] says they’re getting into ground water and drinking water,” Dearth said.
Dearth said the idea of a pill-collection day came from one held in Quincy in the spring when about 2,000 pills were collected. He doesn’t know what to expect from Hingham’s collection, but hopes people will take the time to rid their medicine cabinets of unwanted pills.
It’s not just youngsters who raid medicine cabinets for handy pills, Dearth said. It’s adolescents' friends, extended family members, and even people visiting the house for repairs and other work.
“It’s one way to eliminate temptation,” Dearth said.