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Health

DEA To Accept E-Cigarette Devices At Drug Recycling Event

e-cigarette
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The Drug Enforcement Agency will allow people to recycle unwanted electronic cigarette and other vaping devices this Saturday. It’s the first time the DEA will accept the devices as part of its Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. The event will take place on Saturday Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m at sites across the country.

The annual event, in its 18th year, provides collection sites where the public can drop off unused or expired medications. The agency hopes to prevent abuse of prescription medications and to give people an opportunity to properly dispose of pills for free, no questions asked.

The decision to accept e-cigarette and vaping devices comes after recent news of 1,604 cases of an unknown respiratory illness among e-cigarette users nationally, including 34 deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that most of the cases involve patients who used e-cigarettes containing THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. However, the CDC has yet to establish a direct link between any particular ingredient and the recent illnesses.

The public health agency is warning the public to avoid using e-ciagarette or vape devices that contain THC or that have been purchased “off the street or from other informal sources.” It also says the only way for people to be sure they’re not at risk of a respiratory illness is to refrain from using all types of e-cigarette or vaping products.

The DEA warns it won’t be able to accept e-cigarette and other vaping devices this weekend if they contain lithium ion batteries. It’s recommending that users remove any batteries prior to bringing their devices to a collection site. If users cannot remove the batteries, they should visit a retail store that recycles lithium ion batteries

The public can find their nearest DEA collection site by searching by ZIP code on the DEA's website.