LEWISTON — The national annual Take-Back Initiative to collect expired or unused prescription drugs will be held in Androscoggin County on Saturday, Sept. 29, at eight locations.
When used incorrectly, prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs, said Scott Gagnon, project coordinator for the Drug Free Communities Support Program in Lewiston. In 2010, more deaths in Maine were related to drugs than to traffic accidents.
The recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that 64 percent of teenagers who abuse painkillers got the drugs from friends or family members, often by taking them without permission. And, a 2009 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that children are twice as likely to go to the emergency department for medicine poisonings as any other product.
According to the Maine Department of Public Safety, much of the increase in Maine’s 2010 crime rate was due to burglaries and robberies related to prescription drug misuse and abuse. Elders are especially at risk when it comes to drug-related robberies.
Residents who have medications they no longer use, never needed, or are expired should not flush them down the toilet or throw them in the trash. Flushed medications can pollute waters and medicines in the trash can be taken by people who wish to abuse them.
These reasons, and others, are why health care workers encourage people to drop off their unwanted medicines at Saturday's event.
The locations in Androscoggin County are Farwell Elementary School in Lewiston; Bedard Pharmacy in Auburn; Poland Town Office parking lot; Greene Town Office; and the Mechanic Falls, Livermore Falls, Sabattus and Lisbon police departments. Take-Back Day sites will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more information on a specific site, contact your local police department or call Healthy Androscoggin at 795-2120.