LEWISTON — National Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, April 27. Eight locations in Androscoggin County will accept prescription drugs that people are no longer using.

Maine continues to struggle with the prescription drug abuse epidemic. The doubling of pharmacy robberies between 2011 and 2012 provided a startling and troubling reminder of that fact.

Having unused and unsecured medication in the house increases the risk of prescription drug misuse and addiction and also increases the risk of being a victim of a crime, notably home invasions where the intruder is specifically looking for pills.

Also contributing to prescription drug abuse is the false assumption by many youth and adults that medications prescribed by doctors are always safe to use and are even safe to share with other people. However, it is never safe to take a drug that was prescribed for someone else.

When used incorrectly, prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs. In 2010 there were more deaths in Maine related to drugs than to traffic accidents.

Data from a recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that 64 percent of teens who abuse painkillers got the drugs from friends or family members; often by taking them without permission. If they aren’t abused, they also have potential for accidental poisonings of young children.

Medicines that are currently being used should be in one locked and secure location of the home. 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.

Sites will be located at 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 the appropriate law enforcement agency or call Healthy Androscoggin at 795-5990. For more information about preventing prescription drug abuse and promoting medicine safety, check out www.healthyandroscoggin.org.

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