Health & Senior Living

Lock up prescription drugs you use and get rid of the ones you don’t

Saturday, April 27 is DEA
National Drug Take Back Day

    Most people have prescription medication in the house and many assume that medications prescribed by doctors are always safe to use and even safe to share with other people. When used incorrectly, prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs and increase the risk of prescription drug misuse, abuse, addiction and crime. It is never safe to take a drug that was prescribed for someone else.

    Maine has a significant problem with prescription drug misuse and abuse. In 2010 there were more deaths in Maine related to drugs than to traffic accidents.
    According to the Maine Department of Public Safety, much of the increase in Maine’s 2010 crime rate was due to burglaries and robberies related to prescription drug misuse and abuse. The percentage of Mainers seeking treatment for prescription drug addiction is the highest in the country.
    Lock up your prescriptions in a cabinet, drawer or a prescription lock box, and monitor what you have.
    Teenagers and young adults often try drugs from their home medicine cabinets or ones they get from friends and family members. Nineteen percent of Maine high school students believe there is no risk or only a slight risk when people take prescription drugs that are not prescribed to them (MIYHS 2009).  Aside from alcohol and tobacco, prescription drugs and over the counter medication are the most frequently abused drugs by high school seniors (National Institute on Drug Abuse).
    The problem is not just from kids taking their parents’ prescriptions. Anyone coming into your home can help themselves to unsecured medications that you keep anywhere in the house.
    Break-ins and burglaries are often in the news, especially in rural areas of Maine. Because most people don’t lock up medications or monitor what they have, people who are addicted to medications or want drugs to sell know where to look.
    If you have medications you no longer use, never needed, or are expired, do not flush them down the toilet or throw them in the trash. Get rid of them safely on National Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 27. The following sites will take back your expired or unused medications anytime:
    Dover-Foxcroft PD will accept drugs at Dover-Foxcroft PD 182 East Main St. Dover-Foxcroft;
    Brownville PD will accept drugs at Brownville PD 586 Maine Rd. Brownville;
    Piscataquis County Sheriff will accept drugs at Northwoods Clinic 22 Haley Ct. Sangerville;
    Greenville PD will accept drugs at Greenville PD, 7 Minden St. Greenville;
    Milo PD will accept drugs at Milo PD , 6 Pleasant St. Milo;
    Dexter PD will accept drugs at Dexter PD, 1 Main St. Dexter.
    For more information about prescription drug abuse, check out or visit the Maine’s Office of Substance Abuse website at

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