By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer
Hudson – For Hudson police, fighting addiction, Oct. 24., involved Captain Chad Perry standing outside department headquarters watching residents drop more than 60 pounds of multicolored pills into a cardboard box.
The first Hudson iteration of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s national prescription drug take back program, this event was a success, Perry said, if not also a fresh chapter in an ongoing effort to get drugs out of local homes.
“People really don’t even have to get out of their cars,” he said of the event. “They can just drive by and just drop off [any of their prescriptions] for us. It works really well”
Reacting to the surge of opioid overdoses that first gained public attention in the mid 2010s, police and advocates have pushed hard to get families to dispose of unused old medications.
These, they say, are prime routes to addiction as family members or houseguests can co-op pills for their own use.
The very people once prescribed addictive drugs can also eventually transition into non-medical, recreational use after their need for a drug ends, experts say.
“This stuff can become dangerous,” Perry confirmed at the recent take back event.
Hudson introduced its first efforts to stem the flow of pills through local medicine cabinets roughly five years ago, by installing a secure drop box in their station lobby.
That box accepts any pills and offers absolute anonymity.
Perry said he and other officers do not ask questions when they see people depositing into the lobby kiosk and make no record of who actually disposes of which substances
Police just periodically empty the kiosk, log the actual material contained within, store it in their evidence room, and, intermittently, bring all that to an off-site incinerator.
The drugs are pouring in at a rate of nearly 100 pounds per month prior to the pandemic. One recent batch sent to the incinerator weighed 600 pounds. Over the years, Perry estimates the kiosk has hauled in thousands more pounds of drugs.
“There’s a lot coming in,” he concludes.
Still, though, there’s progress to be made. That’s where this latest take back event comes into play.
“The word is out about the kiosk,” Perry said at the Oct. 24 event. “But, sometimes, it’s a little out of sight and out of mind. This generates a push.”
Peering into a bin during their take back event, Perry was joined by Police Chief Rick DiPersio.
Residents quickly passed through, each rolling down windows, some passing massive, gallon sized bags of household medications out their windows.
“It’s a good idea to just get rid of them and if there’s ever another issue [where you need a drug], you go to the doctor and get the right prescription for that,” Perry said. “To have this stuff hanging around, it’s just not good.”