Albert J. Marro / Staff Photo
Rutland County sheriff’s deputies Kathryn Myhre and Scott Bigelow sort through outdated prescription drugs brought to the Diamond Run Mall for safe disposal Saturday.
Angelo and Bessie Centini put some worries out of their minds — and their medicine cabinet — Saturday when they brought some bottles of unused prescriptions to a collection point at the Diamond Run Mall.
“It’s peace of mind, oh yeah,” said Angelo Centini, 81.
The Mount Holly couple were two of the hundreds of people who visited 26 collection points around Vermont to drop off drugs that, for all manner of reasons, they did want or need any more.
The haul of pharmaceuticals — ranging from inhalers and acid inhibitors to heart medication and powerful painkillers — was collected by police for incineration by the Drug Enforcement Administration as part of Drug Take Back Day in Vermont.
Last year, police collected 3,405 pounds — approaching two tons — of prescription drugs during two drug take-back events.
In Rutland, about 100 pounds of pills were boxed up Saturday. Statewide, it was unclear how much the first collection of 2013 yielded, but police reported reduced collections at some locations.
“We’re not as busy as usual. Normally, we get a lot more than we have,” said Barre Police Sgt. Hal Hayden, who reported that only a handful of customers had visited the department during Saturday’s collection.
But the reason for the decline, Hayden said, was probably that the Barre department now collects unwanted pharmaceutical drugs on a daily basis.
“We have a box here every day, 365 (days),” he said.
In Brandon, the other collection point in Rutland County, collections are held only twice a year. But Brandon Police Lt. Rod Pulsifer said the number of people who visited the department Saturday was way down.
“We only had about 10 people,” he said. “That’s very low compared to past years.”
Still, those 10 people unloaded what Pulsifer estimated was about 10 pounds of unwanted medications.
Police and health officials have routinely staged collections in recent years as a way of keeping the pharmaceuticals — normally flushed down toilets in the past — from contaminating water systems.
They also want to keep potentially dangerous and addictive drugs out of the hands of children, drug dealers and others who would abuse them.
C.J. Frankiewicz of Clarendon said after having a wisdom tooth removed and a minor medical procedure in recent years, his doctors prescribed him Oxycodone painkillers which he never used.
“I’m sure I could make a lot of money selling them on the street,” Frankiewicz joked. “But I’m just happy to have them out of my house.”
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