Drug Take Back days collect a ton of drugs

GORHAM, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- All this week we've been bringing you stories about the impact of Maine's prescription drug addiction. It all led up to NEWS CENTER's Drug Take Back Day, where over 1,000 people dropped off their unwanted or expired medications for disposal.

The national Drug Take Back day took place on Saturday at 160 Maine locations.

At the Gorham Police Department, 25 lbs of drugs were collected within the first hour.

Sgt. Daniel Young said the amount didn't surprise him because people want to feel safe.

"Prescription medication abuse and theft... with the pharmacy robberies... I think it is a concern," said Young. "So this is one small way to make it safer for people."

Clinical Supervisor Randi Sheehan says many people fall into the cycle of abuse when they have easy access to medications.

"Elder abuse is a big piece, because we have kids and family members who are taking from their grandparents or their ill elders because it is available or they know it is there," Sheehan said.

That's why everyone from medical professionals to law enforcement are urging Mainers to safely discard any unwanted or expired prescription drugs.

On Friday, people dropped off a ton of drugs in Portland. In total, 2,235 pounds of medications. It was the largest single collection in Maine ever.

"I've never seen anything like this," said Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce. "I've thought that after 4 years of doing this twice a year that you would see a time when it would either level out or dip. It seems like it's getting more prevalent."

In order to collect the drugs at any time, the Gorham Police Department installed a permanent drug drop off box in its public services building.

Click here for a map of prescription drug drop off locations statewide.


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