The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will hold its 11th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, on Saturday, October 22, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The national initiative aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the public about the potential for prescription drug abuse.
Drug therapies and treatments can change frequently, and injured workers may stop taking medications when they return to work or begin to “feel better.” Such common situations lead to untold thousands of pounds of unused prescription medications sitting around in homes all across America. Meanwhile, for practical and legal reasons, many pharmacies won’t accept medication returns – leaving injured workers to dispose of them on their own, creating opportunities for abuse and posing an increased risk to public health.
Studies show that most prescription drug abusers (at least initially) get their drugs from friends and family. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2014, opioid painkillers accounted for nearly 21,000 drug overdoses (or 78 per day). The CDC also notes that eight out of 10 new heroin users began by abusing prescription painkillers, moving on to heroin when they could no longer obtain or afford prescription painkillers.
The simple act of cleaning out drawers and medicine cabinets and properly disposing of unused medications can help reduce incidents of prescription drug abuse and addiction, while preventing an untold number of deaths due to prescription drug overdose. National Drug Take-Back Day provides a safe and convenient way for Americans to dispose of their unused or unwanted medications. During the most recent Take-Back Day in May, the DEA collected a record amount of prescription drugs. With assistance from various local law enforcement agencies, the DEA collected nearly 900,000 pounds – almost 447 tons – of unwanted medicines, eclipsing the previous record set in the spring of 2014, when 390 tons of unwanted medicines were collected.
The five states with the largest collections were: Texas (40 tons); California (32 tons); Wisconsin (31 tons); Illinois (24 tons) and Massachusetts (24 tons), while Pennsylvania was seventh on the list with nearly 22 tons of unwanted medications collected. Pennsylvania in fact led the nation with the most collection sites – with 337 across the Keystone State. There were more than 5,300 collection sites across the country, to allow people the opportunity to responsibly dispose of their unused or unwanted prescriptions.
How You Can Help:
Encourage injured workers to attend their local National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day event and bring outdated or unused medications for responsible, free disposal. It is especially important to properly dispose of habit-forming drugs like Vicodin and Percocet – to prevent them from being abused. Take-Back events raise awareness of America’s substance abuse problem, while offering the public a safe, anonymous way to dispose of unused prescription medications.
For more information on prescription drug disposal:
To find a participating Take-Back facility in Pennsylvania:
To find a participating Take-Back facility nationwide: