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Area police agencies accepting vape pens for safe disposal
vape pen

When law enforcement officials in San Joaquin County gather on Saturday as part of the bi-annual drug take back day sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration, they’ll be collecting something new for disposal that hasn’t been highlighted before. 

Vape pens. 

In Lathrop and at other locations throughout San Joaquin County, unused vape pen cartridges and other types of nicotine delivery systems will be collected only once the batteries that power the devices have been removed – a way of ensuring that the potentially toxic chemicals don’t fall into the hands of children or those for which it is not legally intended. 

The new addition to the list of items that are being accepted as part of the ongoing program – which is designed to prevent the diversion of potentially dangerous drugs and keep medical chemicals out of water treatment plants and the environment – falls in line with a recent announcement by the San Joaquin County District Attorney that put the country’s largest e-cigarette company on notice and set the table for potential legal action against San Francisco-based Juul Labs. 

But the drug take back day is still designed to keep potentially dangerous medications out of the hands of those who may abuse them, and the bi-annual program has been steadily gaining traction ever since local law enforcement agencies began promoting it. 

When Lathrop Police Services initially participated in the nationwide efforts residents only brought in what amounted to a few pounds of medications, but the event has gained more exposure and traction, the turnout every six months when the event is held has garnered a larger turnout and in turn even more medications. 

Lathrop residents will be able to visit the Lathrop Senior Center, located at 15707 5th Street, from 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26. 

Residents in both Manteca and Ripon will also have a place to bring their expired or unused medications, although both cities approach the issue a little bit differently than Lathrop does. 

While Lathrop holds the bi-annual event in conjunction with other cities across the country, Manteca and Ripon collect the unused medications year-round in specialized containers that are placed in the lobby of the police station – which is then turned over to the DEA for proper disposal.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.