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More in News
Local take back yields 100 lbs of medication
AREA — The drug take back on September 29 was successful, local police say.
"We filled the collection box within the first hour," said Norway Police Chief Robert Federico.
Every year, the police departments along with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) give the public an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and pill theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous, unused or unwanted medications.
Norway Police Investigator Jeffrey Campbell reported that the Norway Police Department collected 43.8 pounds of unused, unwanted or expired prescription drugs on September 29.
"The overall collection statewide was down, but for us ... we had more this time than the previous take backs," said Campbell. "We will take unwanted medications anytime," he said on behalf of the police department.
"We had a couple boxes full," said Paris Police Chief David Verrier.
According to Michael Wardrop, of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Portland, the Paris Police Department generated 7.8 pounds of medications.
"Everytime we do it, the participation grows," Verrier said.
"A lot of people, when they start feeling better, they stop taking their medication, but then the medication is hanging around in the medicine cabinet for a long time.
"Some of those prescriptions are opiates," Verrier explained, "and people abuse opiates."
The Oxford Police Department, according to Police Lieutenant Mike Ward, collected 23.7 pounds of prescription drugs.
"We had a good turnout," said Ward. "We collect drugs year-round," Monday through Friday at the police station, 701 Main Street, he said.
The Oxford County Sheriff's Office collected 25.1 pounds, said Wardrop, which also accepts unused prescription drugs any time of the year.
That means the local agencies that participated generated about 100 pounds of unwanted or expired medications, he said.
Last month, Wardrop reported that in Maine, departments collected a total of 13,980 pounds of medications.
September 29 was the fifth drug take back nationwide. According to Wardrop, it "was certainly another successful collection day."
He reported that "almost seven tons of medications were taken out of households and will never [again] have the opportunity to get in the hands of a toddler or enter our environment through flushing."
"All participants should give themselves a pat on the back for a job well done," Wardrop said.
September's total was exactly 6,000 pounds – or three tons – less than the 19,980 pounds collected in April, Wardrop reported.
He believes the weather that day played a role in the decrease. In addition, he said "there was absolutely no media attention. It was disappointing," he said.
"Up until noon it was rainy, so it kept people away," he said.
He said there are 68 law enforcement agencies throughout the state that have medication collection boxes.
Wardrop, who is a member of the disposal sub-committee of the state's Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, said he was working on advocating an in-state sustainable program, versus requiring the disposal of medications out of state at a cost of $4 to $5 a pound.
He said he's been meeting with administrators of the three waste facilities in Portland, Auburn and Orrington, "to develop and implement a plan for sustainable, cost-effective in-state incineration protocol so future drug take back days can be held by statewide law enforcement agencies anytime of the year."
"Oxford County," he said, "will be able to use the incineration site in Auburn for disposal of medications at a very limited cost," though the plan hasn't been finalized.
"I still have to coordinate with the representatives from all three facilities," he explained, "but it will be terrific."