Wilton is among four Connecticut towns launching an aggressive program to make it easier for residents to discard old and unused prescription drugs.
For the past two years, the town participated in an annual "Drug Take Back Day". Its success has led police and environmental officials to start doing it here year-round, since disposing of drugs no longer means dumping them anywhere or flushing them down the toilet, "like in the old days," officials said.
Taking part in the new regional pilot program, Wilton residents will have a year-round "drop-box," set up at Police Headquarters, 240 Danbury Road, starting in July.
"We strongly support this so that medications don't fall into the wrong hands," said Wilton Police Chief Michael Lombardo. "The one-day program's success means it is much more advantageous to do it year round to help prevent potential tragedies."
Patricia Sesto, Wilton's director of environmental affairs, said the program is particularly important in a town where 90 percent of the homes have septic systems.
"Avoiding potential tragedy by reducing risk when drugs have expired, and to create a healthier environment are two major reasons for a year-round program," she said.
Sesto said seniors with too many bottles to choose from, young children, and pets, are particularly at risk.
"These drugs can pollute the environment if thrown in the garbage, and flushing is out because it contaminates our own backyard," she said. "Having a one-day drop-off is not enough."
The program is being launched by The Connecticut Prevention Network, in cooperation with the Department of Consumer Protection Drug Control Division, local prevention councils, and environmental and police departments in Wilton, Greenwich, New Canaan, and Ridgefield.
"This is the first regional collaboration of its type in Connecticut," said Ingrid Gillespie, director of the Lower Fairfield County Regional Action Council, which is coordinating the effort and has been a co-sponsor of Drug Take Back events, recognizing "their health and safety benefits."
She said discarded medications will be "safely incinerated" at a licensed Bridgeport facility.
For more information contact Wilton Police Lieutenant Stephen J. Brennan, (203) 834-6260, or Ingrid Gillespie, (203) 356-1980, ext. 7914.
Will you use the new Police Station Drop Box to discard old drugs? Leave a comment below.