FAIRFIELD — For the first time, residents will be able to drop off vaping products at the police department’s biannual drug take-back day on Saturday.

Twice a year, the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day provides safe and convenient ways for residents to turn in unused prescription medications, with no questions asked. Each take-back day, the Fairfield Police Department hosts a drop-off center in partnership with Fairfield CARES Community Coalition.

The DEA has been organizing take-back days since 2010 in an effort to combat the opioid epidemic. The epidemic has had a massive footprint in Connecticut, where the chief medical examiner said 544 people have died as a result of accidental drug overdoses in the first six months of 2019. Opioids, the state has said, were involved in 94 percent of those overdoses.

The DEA announced on Oct. 21 that for the first time, it would acept vaping devices and cartridges at drop-off locations on take-back day.

“In an effort to support a healthy lifestyle and energetic population, especially amongst America’s youth, DEA is committed to doing all it can to help safely dispose of vaping devices and substances,” the DEA said.

Illnesses related to vaping and e-cigarettes, which are especially popular among youth populations, have appeared across the country in recent months. In Connecticut, 18 cases of vaping-related lung injuries had been reported to the state Department of Public Health as of Sept. 27.

Fairfield police hope accepting these devices will allow concerned parents to get rid of vaping products they are concerned could put their children at risk.

“We understand that it is a public health issue, and people may not be sure how to dispose of them,” said Capt. Kalamaras of the Fairfield Police Department.

Fairfield’s take-back day will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Police Department, located at 100 Reef Rd.

rscharf@hearstmediact.com