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Drug takeback events this weekend to include vaping materials

For the first time, vaping devices and cartridges will be accepted at drop-off sites participating in the DEA's national prescription drug takeback event Saturday.

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WILLMAR — With rising national concern over vaping-related illnesses and deaths, vaping devices have been added to the collection list for the national drug prescription takeback event being held Saturday in Willmar and other participating sites around the region.

The takeback, sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration , is held nationwide twice a year to allow the public to dispose of unwanted, unused and expired medications safely, anonymously and at no cost.

Hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at participating sites. Sites in Willmar will include the Kandiyohi County Law Enforcement Center and the Walmart store. Additional participating sites include the Benson Police Department, Dawson-Boyd Police Department, the Appleton Civic Center and the Meeker County Sheriff's Office in Litchfield. Law enforcement officers will be on hand at each site to receive and dispose of the medications.

For the first time, vaping devices and cartridges will be accepted at all drop-off sites. Devices containing lithium ion batteries must have the battery removed before they can be accepted. The public is urged to contact the Kandiyohi County household hazardous waste center or an authorized retailer for more information and options on how to safely dispose of lithium ion batteries.

Liquids, needles and other sharp objects cannot be accepted at any of the takeback sites.

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Now in its 10th year, the national prescription drug takeback initiative continues to remove high amounts of opioids and other medicines from homes, where they are vulnerable to misuse, theft or abuse by family members and visitors, including children and teens. Since the first national prescription drug takeback day, the DEA has collected more than 11 million pounds of medications.

According to the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 53 percent of survey respondents who reported misusing pain relievers said they were given, bought or taken from a friend or relative. Of this group, 40 percent got their most recently used prescription pain relievers from a friend or relative for free. The remainder either bought them from a friend or relative or took them from a friend or relative without asking.

More than 5,250 sites nationwide, including 103 in Minnesota, plan to participate in the takeback event Saturday.

Members of the public can find a list of participating sites at www.takebackday.dea.gov or by calling 1-800-882-9539. Those unable to drop off their medications Saturday may locate secure disposal sites, many of which are open year-round, by visiting the website or calling the toll-free number.

Kandiyohi County operates a drop-off box in the lobby of the Law Enforcement Center that is available to the public from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTSAPPLETON
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