Mid-Coast police departments simplify medication collection

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BATH — Medication collection drop boxes are now available to the public at five local law enforcement agencies.

The Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Department, where an announcement was made Tuesday, is one of those locations, along with the Bath, Brunswick, Topsham and Richmond police departments.

Medications can be dropped off during each agency’s business hours. Identifying information such as a name, address or prescription number can be removed or blocked out prior to disposal. Disposal guidelines are on each box.

Prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, samples, vitamins, ointments, medications for pets, inhalers, lotions, and liquid medication in glass or leak proof containers are accepted.

Hypodermic needles and other “sharps,” hydrogen peroxide, thermometers, bloody or infectious waste, aerosol cans, and medications from clinics, businesses or long-term care facilities are not accepted.

The Mid Coast Medication Disposal Partnership was formed in 2005. Since then, day-long collections have been held twice a year.

Mid Coast Hospital, the Sagadahoc Board of Health and Health Officers, local law enforcement agencies, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and TRIAD were among early partners. Communities Against Substance Abuse, the substance abuse prevention committee of Access Health, the Davenport Trust and Maine Drug Enforcement Agency are new partners.

“One in 5 Sagadahoc County teens report abusing a prescription medication at least once in their lifetime,” Melissa Fochesato, substance abuse prevention director for Mid Coast Hospital and CASA member, said in a press release. “We have been encouraging parents for many years to secure and keep track of their medications, and properly dispose of any that are unwanted or expired. These drop boxes will make it easier for all community members to do just that.”

“We consistently have one of the highest per capita disposal rates in the country during our bi-annual medication collection events, (and) we knew we needed to do more,” Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry, another CASA member, said. “We hope these boxes will make it easier for households to get rid of their medications before they get into the wrong hands.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry assists Jack Underwood, director of Mid Coast Hospital’s pharmacy, as he drops unwanted medication into a new medication disposal box Tuesday at the Sheriff’s Department. Observing police are, from left, Chief Scott MacMaster from Richmond, Chief Mike Field from Bath, Chief Tim Young from Topsham, Deputy Chief Marc Hagan from Brunswick and Lt. Chris Lewis from Topsham.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.