Mainers turned in more than 7 tons of unwanted prescriptions drugs during National Drug Take Back Day on October 29th. 14,140 pounds to be exact. According to the Bangor Police Department, that is more unwanted drugs per capita than any other state during the Drug Enforcement Administration-sponsored national event.
Good news considering all the talk about the epidemic problem Maine seems to have with painkillers. And just last week, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) came out that noted the number of overdose deaths from prescription painkillers has more than tripled since 2009. A CDC press release states that 40 people die every day from overdoses involving narcotic pain relievers like Vicodin, methadone, OxyContin and oxymorphone.
In fact, more people die from overdosing on painkiller than heroin and cocaine combined.
One of the main problems with prescription drugs is the sheer availability of them. You can find them in almost anyone’s medicine cabinet. While increased access to substance abuse treatment, prescription monitoring programs and laws to help reduce “doctor shopping” will help to fight the problem, getting the unwanted and unused prescriptions off the streets is a big step in the right direction.
Kudos to Mainers for taking advantage of the take back day.
Mainers can dispose of their unused and expired medicine year round by utilizing Safe Medicine Disposal for ME Program.