From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29, — U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day — the Scarborough Police Department will be one of the multiple sites across the state and around the nation that will accept unwanted and unused medication.

“Unused prescription drugs that collect in our homes can accidentally fall into the wrong hands, creating unintended gateways to opioid addiction,” said Maine’s Senators Susan Collins and Angus King in a joint statement. “Maine is one of the top 10 states disposing prescription drugs through the DEA’s Drug Take-Back Program, and we are confident that our state will continue to lead efforts to stop the misuse of unused drugs that pose a serious threat to our children, our homes, and our environment.”

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications. In 2020, the collection sites began accepting vaping devices and associated substances.

At a previous Take-Back Event in April 2022, federal, state, and local government entities took back more than 721,000 pounds of unused, expired, or unwanted drugs at more than 5,100 locations across the United States. Over the course of the program, more than 15.9 million pounds of prescription drugs have been safely collected across the country, including over 525,000 pounds of medication in Maine alone.

Federal regulations allow pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and other authorized collectors to serve as collection points for unused prescription medication. In 2014, following a bipartisan effort led by Senators Collins and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), the Department of Justice granted the Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) the ability to participate in prescription drug take-back programs at DoD and VA facilities. This initiative has helped to address the role of prescription drug abuse in many military and veteran suicides.

In 2018, a sweeping opioids package known as the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act was signed into law. Senator Collins, a member of the Senate Health Committee, authored two provisions included in the final legislation that help ensure that unused prescription drugs do not fall into the wrong hands and bolster peer support networks for long-term recovery. The legislation also included provisions championed by Senator Collins and Senator King to expand opioid treatment capabilities, including a permanent authorization for nurse practitioners and physicians assistants to provide medication-assisted treatment and a provision that removes an arbitrary limit to allow residential treatment facilities to expand their efforts to save lives.

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