On Saturday, Oct. 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office will give the public its 14th opportunity in seven years to prevent prescription drug misuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. This is a semiannual national event sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, local law enforcement, and community health partners.
There will be five locations across Lincoln County for people to bring medicines for disposal:
- • Boothbay Harbor town office
- • LincolnHealth’s Miles Campus in Damariscotta
- • Sheepscot Valley Health Center in Coopers Mills (Whitefield)
- • Waldoboro town office
- • Wiscasset Police Department
The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Last April, Maine people turned in more than 27,000 pounds (of the 900,000 pounds nationwide) of prescription drugs. Overall, in its 13 previous take-back events, the DEA and its partners have taken in more than 8.1 million pounds — more than 4,050 tons — of pills.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that linger in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. In 2015, more than one out of 10 high school students in Maine reported misusing a prescription drug in their lifetime.
Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that two out of three teenagers who misused pain relievers say they got them from family and friends, including their home’s medicine cabinet.
In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — both pose potential safety and health hazards to humans and to the nation’s natural resources.
For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the Oct. 28 take-back event, go to deadiversion.usdoj.gov or call the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 882-7332.