Local medicine cabinets have a little more room after residents returned hundreds of unused prescription medicines to the Boothbay Harbor municipal office. Boothbay Harbor Police Sgt. Pat Higgins and Patrolman Tom Chryplewicz were joined by Lincoln County Sheriff’s Sgt. Alan Shea in receiving unused medications Oct. 25 during the annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Police departments in Wiscasset and Waldoboro along with Sheepscot Health Center in Whitefield were also Lincoln County receiving centers.
Federal regulations allow pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and other authorized organizations to serve as collectors. National Prescription Drug Take Back Day provides a safe, convenient and responsible means for disposing of prescription drugs while educating people about the potential abuse of medications, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) website. Most law enforcement agencies accept returned prescription drugs throughout the year.
“We accept unused medications every day, but we participate in the event every year to prevent severe environmental impacts from improper disposal,” Higgins said.
Local police departments, like Boothbay Harbor’s, store returned medications before transporting them to a centralized location at the sheriff’s department. Once a year, LCSO transports all the rounded-up medications for incineration in Portland.
In 2018, federal, state and local governments collected 937,443 pounds of unused, expired, or unwanted drugs at 6,200 locations across the U.S., according to DEA. This was the first year collectors accepted vaping devices and associated substances.