WASHINGTON -- For the first time, vaping devices and cartridges will be accepted during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday.
Since the program started in 2010, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency says it has collected more than 11 million pounds of expired and unwanted prescription medication in order to help stop abuse and theft of these substances. During the event, thousands of collection sites around the country are staffed by partner law enforcement agencies.
With a rise in vaping-related injuries and deaths, as well as an increase in use by young people, the DEA was prompted to take additional action.
"This year, we are taking a step further by accepting vaping devices and cartridges as we work with our federal partners to combat this emerging public health threat to the nation's youth," DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon said in a statement last week.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has reported more than 3 million high school students used e-cigarettes in 2018, a 78% increase from 2017.
There's been more concern about vaping this year as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed more than 1,600 vaping-related injuries while states and Washington, D.C., have reported 36 deaths.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day lasts from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. It's free and anonymous.
The DEA says that anyone who is turning in vaping products should remove all batteries first. If you cannot remove the battery, try to dispose of it at a location with proper electronic disposal.
More information on collection site locations, check the DEA's Diversion Control Division website.