Did you know that nearly 40 percent of teenagers who struggle with prescription drug abuse started by getting their drugs from family medicine cabinets? Were you also aware that throwing your unused medications in the trash (or even worse, flushing them down the toilet) is actually one of the worst things you can do? Thanks to the Drug Take Back Program, there is a safe and effective way for you to dispose of your unused medications. This Saturday, October 22nd will mark the 12th Drug Take Back day for the Drug Enforcement Administration. The event will be held across the country at various locations (you can look up the nearest one to you by using their website).
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that are simply left in home cabinets are highly susceptible to being used for prescription drug abuse. If the news this year has been any inclination, rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.
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Last year the DEA collected a record-setting amount of prescription drugs (893,498 pounds of medication, to be exact) at over 9,000 sites across the country, which demonstrates the value and importance of this service. Overall, in its 11 previous Take Back events, the DEA and its partners have taken in over 6.4 million pounds—about 3,200 tons—of pills.
“These results show that more Americans than ever are taking the important step of cleaning out their medicine cabinets and making homes safe from potential prescription drug abuse or theft,” said DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. “Unwanted, expired or unused prescription medications are often an unintended catalyst for addiction. Take-Back events like these raise awareness of the opioid epidemic and offer the public a safe and anonymous way to help prevent substance abuse.”
If you want to participate, we’ve included all the details below. Let’s work together to make our country, and our children, safer.
On Saturday, October 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its 12th opportunity in six years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the October 22 Take Back Day event, go to the DEA Diversion website.