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Drug take back scheduled April 27
COUNTY — On April 27, Oxford County Sheriff's deputies and other local law enforcement agencies will once again take part in the "Prescription Drug Take Back,"a nationwide initiative to purge cabinets of unused, unwanted or expired prescription drugs.
Deputies will set up take back details at their offices in South Paris, Bethel and the Sacopee Valley Health Center in Porter, according to a press release from the Sheriff's Office. Details will be conducted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The "National Prescription Drug Take Back Day," held twice a year, is sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Its purpose is "to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposal," according to the press release, "while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of these medications."
According to Norway Police Chief Robert Federico, April 27 will be the sixth drug take back Norway and other state, local and tribal law enforcement partners have participated in since its commencement in 2010.
Since the program started, more than two million tons of unused or unwanted medicine has been collected nationwide, according to the Sheriff's Office.
According to Federico, the most recent take back, September 29, 2012, was fairly successful. At the time, Federico reported that Norway managed to fill its collection box within the first hour.
Norway Drug Investigator Jeffrey Campbell reported in November, 2012, that the department alone collected 43.8 pounds of unwanted prescription drugs on September 29 – up from the previous years.
"The benefits," says Federico, "are that any unwanted medications are being brought here so that there would be less risk or less enticement for a person to steal them."
Drug take backs are also designed to reduce the risk of accidental overdose by small children or others who mistake them for other medications, according to the Sheriff's Office, which collected 25.1 pounds during its last event.
In Paris, last September, 7.8 pounds of drugs were collected. In Oxford, 23.7 pounds were collected, according to reports.
Oxford and Paris' take back details will take place at their individual police departments, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"This program is important because it provides the means to safely dispose of these medications through proper government controls," said Paris Interim Police Chief Michael Dailey, Friday.
"Medications are often targeted in home burglaries because of how often they are abused," he explained.
"Secondly, removing them from the household eliminates the possibility of accidental ingestion by children.
"Turning the medications in rather than disposing them by flushing them down the toilet is also a better method in order to prevent contamination of ground waters," he said.
The Sheriff's Office cautions to not flush any unwanted or expired medications down a toilet or throw them in the trash. Aside from pill abuse, improper disposal of prescriptions also poses health and safety hazards, it warns.
Federico reminds those wishing to participate to black out the labels on the prescription bottles with a permanent marker to hide any personal information. He said prescription bottles will be returned to their owners after pills have been dumped to ensure personal privacy.
No liquids or needles will be accepted, Federico said.
In addition, take back participants will not be asked questions, as anonymity and confidentiality of individuals is of "paramount importance," according to the Sheriff's Office.
Unwanted or expired prescription drugs are accepted by the Sheriff's Office, located on Western Avenue in Paris year-round as well as the Oxford Police Department on Route 26.
"We will take your drugs year-round, no questions asked," said Oxford Police Lieutenant Michael Ward, who explains prescription drug abuse is a problem in the Oxford Hills area.
He says while drug abuse will never be entirely eliminated, the drug take back events are "definitely helping."
"Over a period of time, it's definitely going to show that the take back program is beneficial to everybody," Ward said.
Contact the Sheriff's Office at 743-9554, or your local police departments, for more information.