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Prescription Drug Collection Events in Kentucky Will Accept Vaping Products for the First Time

Kentucky and other states will participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 26, and the Drug Enforcement Administration is expanding what it will accept to include vaping products.

Prescription Drug Take Back Day began a decade ago to allow households to safely discard of expired and unused prescription drugs anonymously to prevent theft or abuse. 

For the first time, the DEA-sponsored event will accept vaping pens and cartridges, although the DEA can't take devices containing lithium ion batteries.

Electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices have drawn scrutiny in recent months as a number of lung injuries and deaths have been linked to the products.  Products containing THC are linked to most of the cases. 

Tommy Loving, director of the Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force, said as of September, his agency had seized over 2,800 THC vapes.

“If we seized that many, there’s probably 28,000 or more out there," Loving told WKU Public Radio. "Any of these we can get off the street and people stop using these devices, I think we’re going to see less injuries related to vaping.”

Loving said most of the vaping devices contain 85 to 95 percent THC, much stronger than regular marijuana.  THC vapes are illegal in Kentucky, and Loving said that most have come from Colorado or California, where recreational marijuana use is legal.

Take Back Day will take place from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at collection sites across the nation.  Collection sites in Bowling Green include the city police department and the Kentucky State Police post.  Owensboro police will be accepting medications at Wal-Mart and Kroger. 

Other drop-off sites include the state police post in London and Kroger in Elizabethtown.  A complete list of local collection sites can be found here.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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