2012-04-05 / In the Know

Police department offers prescription drug disposal

In September of 2011, the Scarborough Police Department acquired a prescription drug drop box through a grant from the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators.

The group is a nonprofit organization that facilitates cooperation between law enforcement, healthcare professionals, state regulatory agencies and pharmaceutical manufacturers in the investigation and prevention of prescription drug abuse and diversion. The drug box is mounted in the police department lobby and can be accessed anytime and easily monitored by the dispatch center.

Medications that are no longer in use, or expired, are highly susceptible to theft and abuse. Individuals that abuse prescription drugs often obtain them from the medicine cabinets of family and friends. Prescription drug abuse rates are alarmingly high in the United States and a recent report from the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows that Maine tops the nation in prescription drug use.

Medications should never be flushed down the toilet, because eventually it ends up in our water supplies. Previously the recommended method of disposal was to put the medications in used coffee grounds or used kitty litter and throw them away in the trash, but if someone is desperate enough for these drugs the “ick” factor may not stop them.

The police department’s prescription drug box increases the ability for anyone to easily and properly dispose of unneeded, expired, or unwanted medications.

Our lobby is open 24 hours a day and citizens can simply walk in and deposit them into the mailbox. You do not need to be a Scarborough citizen to utilize the service. To keep the process anonymous, we do ask that you black out any names or identifying information on the medication bottles.

Any prescription or over-the-counter pills and patches are accepted, but we ask that you do not put liquids, glass or needles in the drop box for safety reasons.

If help is needed in disposing of the prohibited items, special arrangements can be made by calling the police department.

Our department follows the organization’s strict guidelines for disposal at regularly scheduled intervals. For more information, please call Scarborough Police Department at 883- 6361. – By Scarborough Police

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