FARMINGTON — A prescription drug lockbox for unused medications is available at the Police Department.

The Healthy Community Coalition, with support from Walmart, purchased the box as a safe, effective and sustainable way to dispose of unwanted or expired prescription, over-the-counter and other unused medicines.

Franklin County residents can leave them in the lockbox at the department at 116 Franklin Ave. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. If an officer is there in the evening, they can let someone into the lobby, police Chief Jack Peck said Thursday.

The only restrictions are no hypodermic needles or liquids, he said.

On April 26 the department will take part in National Drug Take-Back Day.

All local police departments will be participating in the drug collection.

Nicole Ditata, Healthy Community Coalition’s Healthy Maine Partnership director, said, “4.6 percent of ninth-graders and 6.3 percent of 12th-graders in the Western District have reported to have taken a prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription in the past 30 days.

“There are serious health risks related to the abuse of prescription drugs and can even result in death if mixed with other substances,” she said. “If the community actively disposes of prescription drugs when they are no longer needed or have expired, it can help reduce the amount of teen use that may occur.”

Ditata convenes a local Substance Abuse Prevention Task Force that works to educate and help provide assistance to the community about how to properly dispose of medications.

She said parents can help prevent prescription drug abuse by youths in their home by: monitoring the quantities and controlling access of prescription medications; being a good role model; properly handling medications; and setting clear rules about not sharing medicines.

For more information, contact Christine Bruen at 779-2927 or [email protected].

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