Dropped drugs are secure

I recently dropped a significant number of excess painkillers in the drug disposal bin at City Hall and later wondered where they go and what safeguards are in place to assure that they are actually disposed of. They would have a street value of several-thousand dollars, and any two people could be tempted. What can you tell us?

— J.I., by email

We won't ask you what you mean by "significant number," J.I. That'd just open up a whole other can of pills, er, worms.

But no matter how much you deposited in the drug disposal bin, Medford police assure us at Since You Asked that it's kept under lock, key and tight watch while in the police station lobby. That's because of the very concerns you raised about it being resold or making its way back into circulation. "That's why we do it this way," said Lt. Mike Budreau.

The drugs collected in the bin, along with illegal drugs seized in criminal cases — methamphetamine and the like — are eventually incinerated. The pills in the bin are not documented, unlike the criminal-case seizures. Police wouldn't comment on where the incineration occurs but said the operations take place under the supervision of two police officers, typically supervisors.

"At certain times of the month, we will transport all the narcotics," Budreau said. It's a job that takes a lot of time, he added, as the box has to be emptied about twice a week.

"It seems to be quite successful," Budreau said.

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