The theft of prescription drugs has become an enormous problem in this country as well as in Waldo County. Once again this year, law enforcement and agencies across the state are teaming up to collect unwanted prescription drugs. Prescription Drug Turn-In Day is Saturday, Sept. 26, with collection locations in Searsport and Belfast.

Older people tend to have more medications in their homes than any other age group. This makes their medicine cabinets of particular interest to anyone using drugs.

A study by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America shows that every day another 2,500 American children get high for the first time. Most of these drugs are obtained from friends and family members, often coming from the prescription bottles at the home of their parents, grandparents, or other relatives.

Sometimes people get a prescription for a medication and find they are allergic to it, or it has undesirable side effects, and they stop using it. Sometimes following a procedure, patients are given pain medication but do not use it. Sometimes a person in the household dies and the prescription drugs are set aside. Ultimately, there can be a considerable amount of unwanted prescription medication in the home.

Disposal of prescription and non-prescription drugs has become a problem. People used to flush the pills down the toilet until it was discovered the action tainted the groundwater.

In recent years, National Prescription Drug Turn in Day provided an opportunity for anyone to get unwanted and outdated drugs out of their homes and disposed of properly. This event was a huge success in removing potentially dangerous drugs from easy access by anyone who wanted to steal them.

Last year, the total Maine collection effort brought in 19,060 pounds of pills.

In Waldo County, last year’s Medication Turn-in received just over 500 pounds of pills to be disposed. That put Maine in the No. 1 position for the number of pills collected per person. Even with our small population, Maine came in 11th in the nation for the total weight of pills collected.

Waldo County Medication Turn-in will take place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Belfast Police Department/Waldo County Sheriff’s Department, 112 Church St., and Searsport Police Department, Public Safety Building, 3 Union St.

In Belfast, area residents are also asked to bring bottle and can returnables to Belfast Police; all funds generated will go to Waldo County TRIAD to help seniors.

For more information, contact Vyvyenne Ritchie at 930-6761.