Friday, March 30, 2012

York, South Berwick and Wells Police Departments Receive Federal Grant


While the next national and state wide Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, April 28, from 10am-2pm, police departments in the towns of York, Wells and South Berwick are now offering community members the opportunity to safely dispose of unused, unwanted or expired medications at any time.

Three MedReturn “Drug Lock” boxes were recently purchased for South Berwick, Wells and York police departments through a Drug Free Communities Grant from Choose To Be Healthy and with a donation from York Hospital.

The Drop Boxes are large green metal boxes located in the police departments’ waiting areas and entrances. All are secure, within eye and camera of a police officer and available to the public 24/7 for convenient and proper disposal. Area police will coordinate proper and safe disposal of the drugs collected in the Drug Lock Boxes on a regular basis.

Chief Dana LaJoie of South Berwick Police Department said that he “welcomes this addition as it allows for expedient and safe disposal. No longer do citizens have to be burdened with how to dispose of medications.” All three police departments—Wells, York and South Berwick—encourage people from surrounding communities to also take advantage of the new Drug Lock Boxes.

Sally Manninen, who coordinates the Drug Free Communities grant that helped pay for the MedReturn boxes, said when she asked York Hospital if it could help pay for the rest of the expensive boxes, Jud Knox, President of York Hospital and John Phyllis, Head of the Hospital Pharmacy both quickly agreed that it was a worthy effort.

In York County schools, 16 percent of the 9-12th graders surveyed reported abusing prescription drugs at least once in their lives (Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey, 2011). The good news is this number has gone down from 20 percent in 2009. Restricting access to prescription drugs in the home and disposing of drugs properly is just part of the effort to prevent prescription drug abuse in our communities.

During the last Drug Take Back Day in October 2011, the State of Maine collected 14,120 pounds of drugs, ranking Maine number one per capita in the U.S. collection effort during each of the three previous national collection events. Here in nine communities of southern York County served by Choose To Be Healthy, police and community members collected almost 1200 pounds in last year’s April and October Drug Take Back Days.

The next National Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, April 28, from 10am-2pm. The event is anonymous and free. Area collection locations for April 28 include: Wells Ergent Care, Ogunquit Transfer Station, Hannaford in York, the Fire Station on Gorges Road in Kittery, the Police Stations in Eliot, Berwick and North Berwick, and the Community Center in South Berwick.

People are asked to remove any personal identifying info from labels. Medicine accepted includes prescription, over-the-counter or veterinary pills, drops and ointments. Police will not accept thermometers, batteries, durable medical equipment, intravenous solutions, injectables or illegal substances.

For more information, contact Sally Manninen, Choose To Be Healthy’s Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator at York Hospital’s Center for Community Health, at 207-439-2936. Go to the Drug Enforcement Administration DEA website for the National Drug Take Back Day drop off locations nearest you.