Prescription drug take-back event at Holyoke Mall

Event held outside the lower-level Sears store

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi believes that if everyone disposed of their unused prescription drugs, there might no longer be the deadly so called “fishbowl pill parties” prevalent among some high school students.

“They all throw them into a bowl and you close your eyes, reach in, and take two or three of them. You don’t know what you’re taking. You don’t know how they interact with each other. Very, very dangerous,” Cocchi said.

It is so dangerous, in fact, that the sheriff says that deaths have resulted. Cocchi and District Attorney Anthony Gulluni are running a day-long drug take-back event at the Holyoke Mall Thursday.

If you have unwanted or expired prescription pills, you can get rid of them outside Sears on the lower level of the mall until 7:00 p.m.

They have already installed drug collection boxes in the lobbies of 14 Springfield-area police departments, and in the past years, have collected some 2,700 pounds of prescription medication. They are hoping to double that amount this year.

Gulluni said that at-risk teenagers need a strong message.

“So they can identify those moments in time when they’re confronted, when they can make the right decision and not the bad decision. Those kinds of things are everywhere, addiction is everywhere,” Gulluni said.

The Gulluni/Cocchi drug take back program will work in tandem with the ongoing Drug Enforcement Administration drop-off events. They have resulted in hundreds of thousands of outdated pill bottles removed from the reach of young people.

If you’re unable to bring your unwanted or unused prescription drugs to the Holyoke Mall before 7:00 p.m., there are several permanent locations where you can drop them off:

  • Agawam Police Department
  • Chicopee Police Department
  • Hampden Police Department
  • Longmeadow Police Department
  • Ludlow Police Department
  • Monson Police Department
  • Southwick Police Department
  • Westfield Police Department
  • Palmer Police Department
  • East Longmeadow Police Department
  • West Springfield Police Department
  • Wilbraham Police Department
  • Hampden County House of Correction
  • WMass Regional Women’s Correctional Center

Needles, liquid medication, IV equipment and chemotherapy drugs cannot be placed in return boxes.