National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is October 22

Last updated on November 4th, 2019

Facts: 6.5 million Americans abuse prescription drugs. Each year, 46,000 Americans die drug-related deaths, over half of which are due to heroin and prescription opioid use. Of those who use heroin, eighty percent started with prescription meds.

Guess where a majority of Americans who abuse prescription drugs are getting their pills? Home medicine cabinets. Family. Friends. This easy access has become a critical public safety and health concern.

Cutting Off the Source

As these numbers continue to rise, the DEA is taking action to change them. The agency’s National Prescription Take-Back Day “provides a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.”

The effort focuses on proper disposal of unused or expired medications, as many people simply don’t know what to do with all these leftover pills. By educating the public about proper disposal, the DEA hopes to reduce the number of drugs available for abuse.

With thousands of take-back locations across the nation, the DEA encourages everyone to take this opportunity to rid their households of unused prescriptions. Bottom line: Getting them out of the cabinet keeps them out of the wrong hands.

Encouraged by Success

Previous drug take-back days have proven to be extremely impactful. The National Prescription Take-Back Day held in May 2016 saw a collection of 447 tons of unwanted medications. This effort included 4,200 state, local and tribal law enforcement officials partnering with the DEA. Local sites totaled nearly 5,400, spanning all 50 states.

Last September’s Take-Back Day resulted in the disposal of more than 350 tons of drugs. That event marked the tenth National Take-Back Initiative event and the collection of more than 5.5 million pounds of drugs.

As these efforts continue, the hope is for continued growth in participation. The ultimate goal is to eliminate this major source of drugs and stop the tragic deaths that result from their abuse. This will require effort from everyone across the nation; the DEA is asking for your help. It’s time to “Take Back” our nation from drugs.

How Can You Get Involved?

  • For those who wish to participate in this important effort, local take-back sites can be found here.
  • Promotional materials to support the efforts can be downloaded here.
  • Additional information about drug disposal is available here.

Additional Reading:  Legally Dead: Exploring the Epidemic of Prescription Drug Abuse

Image Source: iStock

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