Outdated Medications kept from misuse by community collaboration
Over a quarter ton collected at four community collection points

Local law enforcement officers Peter Lamarre and Terry Gowan were on hand at Mid Coast Hospital where unused, outdated , and unwanted prescription, over the counter, and veterinary medications were sorted Friday.

Collections of pills, ointments, and drops were made at the West Bath Fire Department, Richmond Senior Center, Parkview Adventist Medical Center, and the Highlands in Topsham. After the collection, they were sorted by pharmacists and hospital staff members. Controlled substances were separated from over the counter and other meds.

“The purpose of these collections is to keep these items from being disposed of in a way harmful to the environment,” says Ann Pistell, and environmental specialist with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. “It also keeps these substances out of the hands of youngsters and others who may unintentionally misuse the medicines,” she says.

Over four large 55 gal barrels of medications weighing well over a quarter ton were collected and kept out of inappropriate waste streams.

“This is just the top of the enormous iceberg,” says Mid Coast Hospital’s Marla Davis who is one of the coordinators of the collections which began three years ago. “What I am hoping for is funding for a statewide program that all Maine people could easily utilize.”

With the encouragement of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the collections are a collaborative effort of all area law enforcement agencies, Mid Coast and Parkview hospitals, CHANS Home Health Care, TRIAD, The Highlands, Sagadahoc Emergency Management Agency, Sagadahoc Health Improvement Project, Sagadahoc Weed and Seed Program, and the Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Nursing.

To learn more or to find out about future collections, call Mid Coast Hospital’s Healthline at 373-6585.