During the summer of 2018, the Acushnet Fire & EMS Department received a donation of 20,000 prescription drug deactivation pouches which were shared with the greater New Bedford community. The pouches, provided free of charge by Mallincrodt Pharmaceuticals, were locally distributed by public safety agencies, human service providers, Councils on Aging and local churches.
Each pouch contains a substance that, when water is added, deactivates the medications placed inside. The pouch can then be safely placed in the household trash.
In the fall of 2018, the department received an additional 22,000 pouches which were provided to Southcoast Hospitals for local distribution by their visiting nurse program.
Recently, the Acushnet department received a third donation of pouches, 70,000 in total.
“We were asked if we were interested in some more,” stated Acushnet Fire Chief Kevin Gallagher. “I never hesitated and asked that we be sent what they could spare. I never thought we would be shipped 70,000 pouches!”
Similar to their efforts of two years ago, Acushnet fire officials are reaching out to a local network of services and providers in order to get the pouches into the homes of those who want to safely dispose of unused, unwanted or expired medication.
“The pandemic has kept so many adults and children home that it is more important now than ever to rid your home of unnecessary medications,” said Chief Gallagher. “Accidents happen. Addiction happens. These free pouches are the best way to rid your home of these hazards.”
With such a large number of pouches currently stored at a local warehouse, Chief Gallagher is planning on enlarging the scope of this initiative.
“We hope to have one third of our inventory supplied to the greater Fall River area, one third to Cape Cod and one third in greater New Bedford,” he said.
The pouches are available now at the Acushnet Fire Department at Parting Ways. Chief Gallagher said he will be networking with local fire, police departments, Health Departments, Councils on Aging and churches to distribute the pouches.
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