Lincoln County News | Newcastle, ME
Tuesday, May 24, 2016 Serving Maine and Lincoln County for over a century. Volume 141 Issue 20


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National Drug Take Back Day

The National Drug Enforcement Agency will hold a National Take Back Day Initiative on Saturday, Oct. 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The purpose of this program is to provide residents with a safe and convenient method to dispose of unwanted and outdated medications.

Unless handled properly, prescription drugs can, and most likely will, cause great and lasting harm to the environment and to society.

The goal of the Take Back Day Initiative is to try to prevent such harm from happening by assisting citizens with the often complicated and messy task of medication disposal while raising awareness of the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

Lincoln County will have five collection sites for residents to bring their unwanted medications. There will be law enforcement officers at all collection sites. Please do not leave medication at a collection site outside of scheduled hours.

Lincoln County collection sites
Collection sites in Lincoln County are: Boothbay Harbor - Boothbay Harbor Town Office; Wiscasset - Lincoln County Communication Center; Damariscotta - Miles Memorial Hospital; Waldoboro - Sproul Block Apartments; and Whitefield (Coopers Mills) - Sheepscot Valley Health.

Prescription and non-prescription medications, over-the-counter substances, and medications for pets will be accepted, as well as liquid pharmaceutical products such as cough syrup. All liquid pharmaceuticals should remain in original containers with caps sealed to prevent leakage. Needles and syringes will not be accepted.

The public will not be subjected to any questions regarding discarded medications, nor will there be any record made of particular types, or amounts, of medications brought to collection sites.

Every effort will be made to protect privacy. Participants are encouraged to remove all personal identifying information from prescription labels before disposing medications.

Law enforcement officials urge the public to be especially careful in the days leading up to the Drug Take Back Day.

Criminals have used these times to try to obtain drugs illegally by posing as members of law enforcement and offering assistance with medication disposal. Never give medications to anyone other than a uniformed law enforcement officer.

Notify law enforcement immediately of suspicious behavior, especially unsolicited offers of assistance in discarding medications at one's home.

The recent increase in drug-related crime in Maine underscores just how dangerous it is becoming to even keep necessary medications in the home. Of special concern are the elderly.

Many, if not most, older citizens take medications - a fact not lost on criminals. Referring to the recent rise in drug-related robberies and burglaries in Maine, Public Safety Commissioner John Morris said that, "some [criminals] continue to target the elderly because there's a sense that the elderly have prescription drugs in medicine cabinets."

It is essential that the public take steps to protect itself from becoming a target of drug-related crime - steps that not only protect the homeowner, but also, by limiting access to medications, help prevent prescription drug abuse from ever starting in the first place.

It is important to keep medications out of sight of daily visitors, including family members. Never ever leave medications lying around the house. Limit and control access - if possible, keep medications under lock and key when not in use.

Use discretion when discussing medications, as well as medical issues, including speaking only to relevant doctors, nurses, and trusted and responsible family members and friends.

Check medications frequently. Be aware of quantities. According to Roy McKinney, director of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, "most of the diverted pills (that feed an addiction) come from family and friends."

If one really cares about family and friends, take the trouble to keep track of how many pills are in prescription bottles and how many prescription bottles are in the medicine cabinet.

In the case of lost or missing medication, or any suspicious discrepancies whatsoever, notify pharmacy, hospital, or police, immediately. Finally, dispose of old and unwanted prescription medications responsibly and frequently.

It is clear that the Drug Take Back Day is about more than the prevention of prescription drug abuse only; it is about the prevention of all drug abuse. Last April, over 22,000 pounds of unused, unwanted prescription drugs were collected in Maine by the program - an astonishing record and due for the most part to the determination of concerned citizens.

Once again Maine was ranked number one per capita in the nation in this effort. A consequence of this was a decrease in prescription drug abuse with a concomitant increase in heroin use and drug-related crime.

This telling shift from prescription drugs to heroin is proof that programs of this sort really work. The public has the ability to effectively block access to prescription drugs in the home.

This is very especially important. With a citizen prescription drug blockade in effect, drug addicts will find it more difficult to return to their old habits of prescription drug abuse when heroin becomes less available.

The more responsibility citizens shoulder in regard to their own prescription drugs, the more law enforcement can turn their attention and resources to the control of heroin and other drugs.

Furthermore, prescription drugs are often the first drugs with which kids experiment. According to the National Institute of Health, young adults are the biggest abusers of prescription drugs. Limiting access to these dangerous drugs protects our youth.

The aim of The National Drug Take Back Day Initiative is to prevent drug abuse and all the ruin and destruction and heartache that it causes. Every bottle of medicine that is disposed of safely is one less that will cause harm.

Every contribution to the Drug Take Back Day effort, no matter how small or large, makes an enormous difference. Please join the fight against drug abuse in Lincoln County and bring one's unwanted medications to a collection site nearby on Oct. 26.

(Submitted article)

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