AUGUSTA - Mainers have an opportunity to do their part in combating the opioid epidemic by participating in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day event on Oct. 28, 2017.
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), in collaboration with the New England High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), is working to reduce the availability of unwanted and unused prescriptions by highlighting drug take-back locations across the state that are available year-round.
"We encourage people to dispose of their unused prescription medication in one of the several drug disposal boxes found in communities across Maine," stated Commissioner Ricker Hamilton. "Doing this significantly reduces the availability of and access to these drugs."
The proper disposal of unused prescriptions can help save lives-especially the lives of Maine's youth. Two thirds of teens who misused pain relievers in the past year say that they got them from family and friends, including the medicine cabinets in their own homes.
During the last National Drug Take-Back Day, the state of Maine collected more than 24,000 pounds of prescription drugs-greater than the combined collections of New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont, and Rhode Island.
"In keeping unused prescription drugs readily accessible in your home, you introduce the possible risks of harmful exposure or misuse to friends and family members," said State Health Officer Dr. Christopher Pezzullo. "Educating the public on local drug disposal sites and the importance of proper prescription drug disposal are key elements in combating the State's ongoing opioid crisis."
Prescription drugs may be disposed of at any time throughout the year, not just on National Drug Take-Back Day. To find a permanent drug disposal site near you, enter your zip code into the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy Drug Disposal Locator: nabp.pharmacy/initiatives/awarxe/drug-disposal-locator or check with your local police department.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder, dial 2-1-1 in Maine or visitwww.211Maine.org to be connected to local resources.