By Beth David, Editor
The Acushnet Fire & EMS Department is continuing its fight against opioid abuse and other dangers associated with drug use and abuse.
The department has just acquired a sharps destruction machine, which destroys syringes and other needles used for drug use, diabetes testing, and other medical reasons. Resident may take their sharps, still in the proper containers, to the EMS division at 60 Middle Road in Acushnet to have their sharps disposed of for free.
“All we ask is that the needles be turned in directly to our staff in a plastic container, preferably a red ‘sharps’ container,” wrote the department on its Facebook page. “If you don’t have any, we do, thanks to the Acushnet Board of Health. These will also be distributed free of charge. Used needles anywhere is a safety risk. By offering this service to Acushnet residents we hope to make your home, and our community, a safer place to be.”
Needles may be dropped off any day between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sharps include syringes, the new safety needles, pen needles and finger testing needles.
The department has also received a donation of thousands of drug deactivation pouches, which allow residents to safely dispose of medications. The pouches contain carbon that deactivates the drug when mixed with water. Then the pouch can be disposed of in the regular trash.
Simply throwing pills away has resulted in many water sources in the country being contaminated with a variety of drugs, affected the water, fish, and the wildlife and humans that rely on the water source.
In Acushnet, pouches are available in Town Hall with the Town Clerk and Veterans Agent, at the Library, Council on Aging and the Police Department. The Acushnet Farmer’s Market will have pouches available on Saturdays.
Fire Chief Kevin Gallagher refers to those in the effort to fight opioid addiction as the “purple army.” As many know, the lawn of the Acushnet Fire Department is ringed with purple flags, in honor of those who have overdosed on drugs. He has said if you paint every person who has been affected by drug addiction the color purple, there would be far to many purple people.
The department is looking for ways to distribute the pouches, so residents are encouraged to call if they have an appropriate event coming up, 508-998-0250.
“We will gladly make these drug deactivation pouches available free of charge,” said the Chief in a statement on the departments Facebook page. “We must act locally. Working as a community we can reduce the number of purple people, and purple flags on our lawn!” •••
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