Eighth National Take Back Day Sets Record Numbers

Last updated on November 4th, 2019

The most recent National Take Back Day, held on April 26, proved to be a resounding success and was met with record numbers in many states.

Coordinated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the National Take Back Day series first began in September 2010 and events are held twice annually, once in the spring and once in the fall. The institution allows unused prescription medication to be dropped off at one of numerous collection sites across a state, with no questions asked. The seven previous nationwide take back events have helped safely remove more than 3.4 million pounds of medication from circulation.

A recent survey found that four in 10 teenagers who misused a prescription drug got it from their parents’ medicine cabinet.Disposing of unused or expired medications in the home is one of the four components of President Obama’s strategy for curbing prescription drug abuse in the country. A recent survey found that four in 10 teenagers who misused a prescription drug got it from their parents’ medicine cabinet. The National Institute On Drug Abuse also reported that 2.1 million Americans were either dependent on or abused prescription pain relievers in 2012.

“I know people that go to real estate open houses every Sunday just to search medicine cabinets to find [prescription] medicines,” said Dr. Neil Capretto, Medical Director at Gateway Rehabilitation in Pittsburgh. “The reality is these medicines are killing more people in our community every year than loaded guns and traffic fatalities put together.”

Take Back Day by the Numbers

Side Note PictureWith the increase in prescription drug use, it comes as little surprise that more of these medications were turned in during the latest National Take Back Day.

Ohio set a new state record by disposing of 28,466 pounds, or more than 14 tons, of medication. Kansas natives also safely removed 11,687 pounds of drugs, up by 1,500 pounds from 2010. Wisconsin residents set a record in the state by dropping off 50,485 pounds of prescription medication at 180 collection sites, while Iowa residents did the same by disposing of 8,840 pounds of drugs at 123 collection sites.

West Virginia also set another record by disposing of 6,211 pounds of unused medication at 130 sites across the state, while law enforcement agencies in Maine collected 27,040 pounds of prescription drugs across the state. Numerous counties and towns across the country also reported record numbers of disposals.

However, the record numbers also present a worrying statistic because it also means that these medications are being abused more frequently. Law enforcement officials are urging an increase in drug education to help complement programs like National Take Back Day.

“Is there too much over-prescribing?” asked Michael Wardrop, the resident agent in charge for the US Drug Enforcement Administration in Maine. “At some point you’d start to think we’d go down…that becomes perplexing.”

Also Read: America’s Painful Love Affair with Painkillers

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