PORTLAND, Maine — With more than 150 drop-off locations and no questions asked, Maine law enforcement officials hoped Saturday’s drug take-back program would be even bigger than last year’s one-day event in which nearly 4 tons of unwanted and outdated drugs were discarded.
Officials promoting Take-Back Day encouraged Mainers to go through their medicine cabinets to remove unwanted and expired prescription drugs.
One of the goals was to properly dispose of prescription medications in an environmentally sound way. Often, such unwanted drugs are flushed away, contaminating rivers and streams, or tossed out with the garbage, where they end up in landfills, potentially contaminating groundwater.
Another goal was to keep dangerous drugs out of the wrong hands, said U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty II.
“With medicines lying around the house, they become a source of unauthorized people getting to them. There have been situations where teenagers have found them to be a ready source, without having to go out and get drugs for recreational use from illegal dealers. They’re right there,” Delahanty said.
Last September, Mainers discarded 7,820 pounds of prescriptions during a national drug takeback program, with Maine ranking first on per-capita basis, he said.
Michael Wardrop, the top U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency official in Maine, set a goal of topping 10,000 pounds. That’s quite possible program officials will travel to several nursing homes to collected old, unwanted or expired prescriptions. Those are on top of drop-off locations.
The drugs will be taken from the locations across the state to a couple of secure facilities, where they’ll be weighed and later trucked to a secure out-of-state facility for incineration, according to Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety