MELROSE — It is that time again to clean out your medicine cabinet. If you are holding onto expired or unused prescriptions or over-the-counter medications, bring them to the Melrose Police Station or Walgreens Pharmacy in Melrose on Saturday, September 27, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to be properly disposed of. Organizers are very pleased to announce that Walgreen’s Pharmacy will continue to be a Take Back Site for this national event.

We are fortunate in Melrose to already have the ability to safely dispose of medications and syringes all year round. For over 4 years, the Melrose Police Department has operated a permanent medication drop box located in the station’s lobby available 24/7, while Melrose City Hall on Main Street maintains a syringe drop box available during regular business hours.

Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing problem in our region, especially for our youth. Among adolescents, prescription and over-the-counter medications account for most of the commonly abused illicit drugs by high school seniors. According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the 2013 Monitoring the Future Survey, almost 50% of high school seniors said that prescription drugs are “fairly easy or very easy to get.” Nearly 1 in 20 high school seniors reported nonmedical use of Vicodin; 1 in 25 reported abuse of OxyContin. When asked how prescription narcotics were obtained for nonmedical use, 70% of 12th graders said they got them from a friend or relative. Studies show that the majority of abused prescription and over-the counter drugs are often obtained from home medicine cabinets without someone knowing. Some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs include opioids (such as pain relievers OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet), depressants (Xanax, Valium), and stimulants (Concerta, Adderall).

In addition to getting the drugs out of the home, disposing of them at the community drop box is also an environmentally friendly way to prevent drugs from being flushed down the toilet and getting into the water supply. Recent national reports have raised environmental concerns about medications that are flushed down the toilet or poured down the sink. Studies show that trace amounts of medications are being found in drinking water supplies across the country, which has prompted public interest in how people are disposing of these drugs. Proper disposal is a significant way to lower the risk of groundwater contamination.


Please note that liquids are not accepted at either take back location. To dispose of liquid medications, pour into a substance like kitty litter, sawdust or used coffee grounds and throw away in your household trash.


•  Prescriptions

•  Prescription Patches

•  Prescription Medications

•  Prescription Ointments

•  Over-the-counter Medications

•  Vitamins

•  Samples

•  Medications for pets

NO—Not Accepted

•  Liquids, Ointments or Lotions

•  Thermometers

•  Needles (Sharps) *only accepted at City Hall during regular business hours*

•  Medication from Businesses or Clinics

•  Aerosol Cans

•  Inhalers

•  Hydrogen Peroxide

Remember, if you cannot attend this Saturday’s event, you may bring ALL unused and/or expired prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications (except liquids) to the Melrose Police Department to be deposited in the drop box located in the lobby, available 24/7. Syringes can be brought to Melrose City Hall on Main Street during regular business hours. If you have any questions or would like to find out more about the Melrose Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, please call 781-979-4128.