PIPD collect unwanted medications

Kathy McCarty, Special to The County
17 years ago

    PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – The Presque Isle Police Department held its first drug disposal day on Jan. 26, collecting dozens of containers of unwanted medications.
     “Drug thefts are on the increase. By collecting and disposing of such unwanted medications, it’s our (the department’s) hope to reduce the number of drug-related crimes in our area,” said Chief Naldo Gagnon.
It is not considered safe to dispose of unwanted pills by flushing them or throwing them in the trash, since the chemicals in the drugs can get back into the water supply either through leeching at a landfill or at the water processing plant. Neither landfills nor water plants are equipped to properly remove such compounds and they wind up back in groundwater or the public water system.
To prevent that from happening, individuals are being encouraged to bring unwanted/unused medications to designated collection sites, such as Presque Isle Police Department. Det. William Scull is overseeing the PIPD’s monthly program.
“If you were to look in the medicine cabinet of the average citizen, you would likely find a variety of unused, unneeded or expired prescription medications. Disposing of these medications has become a problem. It is unsafe to flush them as it can contribute to water pollution. Throwing them in the trash can cause groundwater contamination from leeching out of landfills,” said Scull.
For the next several months, the PIPD will be holding special collection days to address this issue.
“The last Friday of each month we will be collecting unwanted medications,” said Gagnon.
Individuals can bring in unwanted medications – pill form only – between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on those days at the station, located at 43 North Street, Presque Isle.
“The public is invited to bring in leftover or expired medications so that they can safely be destroyed. As a result, the medications brought in are no longer available for theft, diversion or improper use,” said Scull.
The department will only be collecting pills or tablets. Fluids, glass containers, needles, inhalers, etc. cannot be accepted. Speak with a health care provider to find out the best way to dispose of those types of items.
Gagnon is optimistic about the program, based on the results of the first collection day.
“We collected two grocery bags full of unwanted medications. That’s two bags of drugs that won’t be stolen or misused,” said Gagnon.
After the collection, the medications were taken by Scull to an undisclosed location for incineration.
For information or inquiries about the program, contact 764-4476.