Lincolnville Police Chief Ron Young and Officer Merl Reed set up boxes at Lincolnville Central School on Saturday, Sept. 25, for the National Take Back Prescription Drug Initiative sponsored in coordination with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, Maine State Police and local law enforcement. The goal was to provide citizens an opportunity to safely dispose of expired and unused prescription medications.  Approximately 20 local residents participated, including Floyd Pease and Ercel Dodge, pictured with Chief Ron Young.

 

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England, the DEA collected 25,810 pounds of unneeded and unwanted prescription drugs, from Adderall to Zoloft, across 401 return sites across New England.

Massachusetts led the way with 8,550 pounds collected from 121 return sites and 121 participating agencies. Maine followed, collecting 7,820 pounds at 120 sites and with the help of 88 participating agencies. Connecticut collected 5,050 pounds; New Hampshire, 2,479; and Rhode Island, 784 pounds.

 

According to the DEA:

 

In 2009, there were 7 million Americans aged 12 years and older who abused prescription drugs for non-medical purposes within the past month, up from 6.2 million in 2008.  This represents a 13 percent increase in just one year.

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In 2009, on average, 6,027 persons per day abused prescription pain relievers for the first time.  The total number of individuals that initiated drug use with prescription drugs exceeds the number of individuals that initiated drug use with marijuana.

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Every day, on average, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time.

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1 in 7 teens admit to abusing prescription drugs to get high in the past year.  Sixty percent of teens who abused prescription pain relievers did so before the age of 15.

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Fifty-six percent of teens believe that prescription drugs are easier to get than illicit drugs.

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2 in 5 teens believe that prescription drugs are “much safer” than illegal drugs.  And 3 in 10 teens believe that prescription pain relievers are not addictive.

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Sixty-three percent of teens believe that prescription drugs are easy to get from friends’ and family’s medicine cabinet.

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According to the Center for Disease Control, prescription drugs, including opioids and antidepressants, are responsible for more overdose deaths than “street drugs” such as cocaine, heroin, and amphetamines.

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The number of emergency room visits attributable to pharmaceuticals alone is up 97 percent between 2004 and 2008.

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The number of persons seeking treatment for pain reliever abuse is up more than fourfold between 1998 and 2008

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The take-back initiative would not have been successful, the DEA said in a press release, without the assistance of the Massachusetts National Guard, Maine National Guard, New Hampshire National Guard, Vermont National Guard, Rhode Island National Guard Connecticut National Guard, Covanta Energy, Wheelabrator, the MBTA, Clear Channel the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; the Partnership for a Drug-Free America; the International Association of Chiefs of Police; the National Association of Attorneys General; the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy; the Federation of State Medical Boards; and the National District Attorneys Association.