[Pharmwaste] FW: UMaine-Based Drug Mail-Back Program Refunded, Expands

Tenace, Laurie Laurie.Tenace at dep.state.fl.us
Tue Jul 14 13:18:56 EDT 2009

-----Original Message-----
From: DeBiasi,Deborah [mailto:Deborah.DeBiasi at deq.virginia.gov] 
Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 1:10 PM
To: pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us
Subject: UMaine-Based Drug Mail-Back Program Refunded, Expands


UMaine-Based Drug Mail-Back Program Refunded, Expands

July 13, 2009
Contact: Len Kaye, (207) 262-7922; George Manlove, (207) 581-3756 

ORONO, Maine - The first-in-the-nation pharmaceuticals mail-back program
launched in 2007 by the University of Maine's Center on Aging with
partnering agencies has been refunded for another two years, and will
more than double in size and scope as a result.

In the new phase of the program, 20,000 mail-back envelopes will be
distributed throughout Maine to more than 100 pharmacies, medical
facilities and community agencies, according to Len Kaye, director of
the Center on Aging. So far, more than 1,000 pounds of unused and
unwanted medicines have been mailed by 2,000 participants to the Maine
Drug Enforcement Agency's Westbrook office for proper disposal, Kaye

The pharmaceuticals mail-back program is free, confidential and "remains
the first and, as far as I know, continues to be the largest statewide
mail-back program in the country," Kaye says. Agencies from other states
continue to call the Center on Aging for advice about starting similar
mail-back programs, he says.

The program, created by the Maine Legislature, was launched two years
ago after receiving a $150,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency. This month, the state took over funding with a
two-year commitment from the Maine Department of Public Safety and the
Drug Enforcement Agency with $150,000 from the Fund for Healthy Maine. 

The program is cutting the flow of medications into the environment or
into the hands of children or criminals. Flushing unwanted drugs down
toilets simply mainlines them into the environment, according to Kaye
and members of the Maine Benzodiazepine Study Group, which formed in
part to combat improper disposal methods of unneeded pharmaceuticals. 

Pharmaceuticals do not break down naturally and contaminate lakes,
streams and water supplies, even after passing through people and
wastewater treatment plants.

The largest category of mailed-back drugs -- 25 percent -- includes
pharmaceuticals like antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs, followed
by heart medicines. 

Maine DEA Director Roy McKinney says the renewed funding ensures the
statewide reach of the program.

"What I've seen in the first phase is of tremendous value," McKinney
says. "People are struggling: 'What do I do with these unused

"Public Safety Commissioner (Anne) Jordan and I think this is a valuable
program for the citizens of Maine," he adds.

Information about the program and the Center on Aging is available by
calling 1-866-637-9743, or click the link to Safe Medicine Disposal for
ME Program under "UMCoA News" on the Center on Aging Web site.


Back to News

Deborah L. DeBiasi 
Email:   Deborah.DeBiasi at deq.virginia.gov (NEW!)
WEB site address:  www.deq.virginia.gov 
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality 
Office of Water Permit Programs 
Industrial Pretreatment/Toxics Management Program 
PPCPs, EDCs, and Microconstituents 
Mail:          P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA  23218 (NEW!) 
Location:  629 E. Main Street, Richmond, VA  23219 
PH:         804-698-4028 
FAX:      804-698-4032 

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