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Drug disposal event in Arizona, US to include vaping devices for 1st time

PHOENIX – For nearly a decade, the Drug Enforcement Agency has been encouraging people to discard their expired, unused and unwanted medications twice a year for National Drug Take Back Day.

The 18th edition of the initiative will take place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and for the first time vaping devices will be part of the free, anonymous program.

“We’re offering this as a service to the community so that we can just dispose of everything that’s languishing in your home as an effort to combat the opioid epidemic and just remove those drugs from your home and protect everybody that you care about,” Erica Curry, spokeswoman for the DEA in Arizona, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday.

Around 100 Arizona locations, including law enforcement agencies and drug stores, will take part in the take backs, including more than 40 in Maricopa County. Visit the DEA website or call 800-882-9539 to find one near you.

“In Phoenix, we always have great partnerships with Phoenix PD and Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office,” Curry said.

“They’re usually two of our biggest supporters, but we have them across the state.”

Curry said vaping devices and cartridges were added to initiative because of increased concerns about the health risks posed by e-cigarettes.

“The only thing that we’re asking is that you remove the batteries from the vaping devices before you drop them off,” she said.

The DEA also doesn’t accept liquids or needles at the collection sites.

Arizonans turned in nearly 6 tons of prescription drugs at the last National Drug Take Back Day in April and have disposed of around 83 tons over the lifetime of the program.

Nationally, nearly 6,000 tons of unwanted medications have been removed from homes through the initiative since 2010.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.

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