11th National Drug Take Back Day

11th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Set for October 22nd

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.


The Problem:

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 Solution:

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:



11th National Drug Take Back Day Infographic


KeyScripts’ Trendwatch: Pennsylvania’s Fight Against Opioid Abuse

Since taking office last year, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has made the fight against opioid abuse a top priority of his administration. To aid the governor in his efforts, KeyScripts’ president Ray Hoover attended the governor’s recent panel discussion on opioid and heroin abuse in the Commonwealth. The panel was comprised of experts in law enforcement, pharmaceuticals and substance abuse. Through such forums and other initiatives, the Wolf Administration hopes to raise awareness of the opioid issue among state lawmakers, who may soon be considering legislation to curb the abuse of prescription opioids in Pennsylvania. Some of the governor’s current initiatives include:


  • Drug Take-Back Boxes

Funded through grants managed by the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association, this statewide drug take-back system addresses the problem of excess prescription drugs. More than 400 take-back boxes are placed across the state, and over 40,000 pounds of prescription drugs were disposed of in 2015.


  • Naloxone Distribution

Naloxone, the drug that temporarily reverses the symptoms of an opioid overdose, is available to all Pennsylvanians and is carried by all first responders in the state. The Pennsylvania State Police and over 300 municipal police departments carry the drug, and have made over 800 reversals to date. Additionally, the drug has been made available for free to schools in the Commonwealth.


  • Warm Handoff Policy

A “warm handoff” refers to health care professionals transitioning patients from primary physician care to specialized drug and alcohol treatment programs. The policy mandates that overdose survivors are taken from the emergency department directly to treatment. Such facilitated referrals support individuals with substance abuse disorders and increase the chances of a successful recovery.


With such initiatives under way, the Wolf Administration is also planning for the future. Those plans include:


  • Substance Use Disorder Medical School Curricula

An effort to incorporate substance use disorder courses into the curricula required for graduation from programs at Pennsylvania medical schools. Massachusetts has already adopted the curricula addition, which has been advocated by the Obama Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services.


  • Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

The Pennsylvania Department of Health and Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs are working together to create a set of specialized opioid prescribing guidelines to limit excess drug supplies. The departments have completed guidelines for emergency department providers, chronic non-cancer pain, obstetrics and gynecology, pharmacists, geriatrics and dental pain. These completed guidelines are awaiting approval by the appropriate medical boards. Guidelines still under development include pediatrics, neurology and sports medicine.


Incidents of addiction and deaths caused by drug overdoses have reached epidemic proportions in Pennsylvania. It is estimated that seven Pennsylvanians die each day from drug overdoses, while nearly 2,500 overdose deaths occurred in the Commonwealth in 2014 – with even more estimated in 2015. Recognizing its far-reaching, often tragic effects, Governor Wolf has turned to experts in pharmacy benefit management, like KeyScripts, among other private- and public-sector stakeholders, to help lawmakers understand the various facets of prescription opioid and heroin abuse in Pennsylvania. As noted in an earlier blog, more than 400 opioid abuse control initiatives are being evaluated by lawmakers across the nation, the Commonwealth among them. As the governor’s initiatives move forward, KeyScripts will continue to track the progress of the fight against prescription opioid abuse, while continuing to look for ways to help our customers manage their workers’ compensation prescription claims.