National Take Back Day to include e-cigs, vaping pens

The Kentucky State Police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) are partnering on Saturday to encourage citizens to remove potentially dangerous medicines from their homes and dispose of them safely. This will be the 18th National Drug Take Back Day, a campaign resulting in millions of pounds of Opioids and other medicines gathered, reducing possible drug misuse.

For the first time, the DEA and partnering law enforcement agencies will be accepting vaping devices and cartridges at any drop off location during National Take Back Day. These devices cannot contain lithium ion batteries. With the rising concerns of “vaping-linked” illness and death across the United States, this effort will promote a healthier lifestyle in a safe disposal of vaping devices and substances.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there was at least 1,479 lung injury cases reported across every state but Alaska, all connecting to the use of e-cigarette, or vaping products. Thirty-three deaths from these products have been confirmed nationally.

Collection activities will take place from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. on Saturday at 16 locations throughout the state including Post 10 Harlan, located at on U.S. Hwy 421.

According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.

In April of 2019, citizens across the U.S. safely disposed of nearly 470 tons of unneeded medications during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Kentucky alone collected 13,457 pounds of unwanted/unused prescription drugs.

KSP spokesperson Sgt. Josh Lawson advised that the program is designed to be easy for citizens and offered the following tips for those interested in participating:

• Participants may dispose of medication in its original container or by removing the medication from its container and disposing of it directly into the disposal box located at the drop off location.

• All solid dosage pharmaceutical products and liquids in consumer containers will be accepted. Liquid products, such as cough syrup, should remain sealed in original containers. The depositor should ensure that the cap is tightly sealed to prevent leakage.

• Intravenous solutions, injectables and syringes will not be accepted due to potential hazard posed by blood-borne pathogens.

• Illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine are not a part of this initiative and should not be placed in collection containers.

For more information about the Take Back program, contact KSP at 502-782-1780 or visit the DEA website at https://takebackday.dea.gov/