SOUTH PORTLAND — South Portland Police have announced nearly 1,000 pounds of prescription drugs were collected at the Drug Drop Off event on Oct. 24, just the latest sign that the public is taking advantage of the chance to safely get rid of unwanted prescription medication.

The event, conducted in partnership with Volunteers in Police Service, collected 955 pounds of unwanted or unused prescription drugs, along with 12 bags of recyclable materials.

The local effort coincided with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which the department has been holding nationally since 2010. According to a statement from the DEA on Oct. 30, the program netted nearly 1 million pounds of discarded drugs nationally this year alone and has collected nearly 13.7 million pounds of medication to date.

South Portland Police Lt. Todd Bernard underscored the need to dispose of drugs safely.

“Unused or expired prescription medications are a public safety issue,” Bernard said. “They can lead to accidental poisoning, misuse and overdose. Disposing of drugs properly saves lives and protects the environment.”

Drug Drop Off day has been an annual event in South Portland since 2018 and has been growing in popularity. According to the department, 414 pounds of medication were collected in 2018 and 607 pounds last year. Combined with this year’s collections, the program to date has brought in nearly 2,000 pounds in discarded medication.

The police department in South Portland was one of 4,587 drop-off sites nationwide and one of 144 sites in the state of Maine to collect unwanted and unused prescription drugs, though Bernard said the public doesn’t have to wait for a special day to drop off unwanted drugs and can visit the police station anytime to drop off medication.

The DEA suggests on its website that residents remove all personal information on pill bottle labels and medicine packaging before dropping medicine off. To learn more, visit

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