Millions of medicine cabinets around the country are filled with unused, expired, and potentially dangerous prescription drugs that – for a variety of reasons – never were taken by the person for whom they were intended.
Often a doctor changes a prescription, or a patient doesn’t finish their meds. Sometimes a patient dies leaving behind a medicine cabinet full of pills.
Whatever the reason, these drugs pose a serious threat, both to people, and to the environment.
Too often, they end up flushed down the drain, or tossed into the trash, only to end up in rivers and streams. Or worse, they can end up in the hands of the wrong persons, and are used recreationally – particularly by teenagers.
The misuse of prescription drugs and OTC drugs has become a national epidemic. The recent high profile HIV and HCV epidemic in Southern Indiana (see Indiana Gov To Declare HIV Health Emergency In Scott County), for example, has been liked directly to prescription drug abuse (see CDC HAN Outbreak of Recent HIV and HCV Infections among Persons Who Inject Drugs).
Prescription drug abuse – particularly among teenagers – has exploded in recent years, primarily due to their easy availability. This from the NIH’s Drugabuse.com
The classes of prescription drugs most commonly abused are: opioid pain relievers, such as Vicodin or Oxycontin; stimulants for treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), such as Adderall, Concerta, or Ritalin; and central nervous system (CNS) depressants for relieving anxiety, such as Valium or Xanax.1 The most commonly abused OTC drugs are cough and cold remedies containing dextromethorphan.
For many with a medicine cabinet full of old, outdated, or unneeded prescription drugs, the dilemma is how to properly dispose of these pills.
To this end, the National Take Back Initiative was created by the DEA, in conjunction local law enforcement agencies, to provide a safe – no question’s asked - place to take these drugs.
So, check your medicine cabinet, and then check the website below for the closest disposal site to you, and then make plans to go there this Saturday.
Event will take place from 10 am-2 pm on Saturday, September 26th
JUL 28 (WASHINGTON) - DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg today announced that the 10th National Prescription Drug Take-Back will take place September 26th from 10 am-2 pm local time in every state but Pennsylvania and Delaware, where the event will take place on September 12. As with the previous nine Take-Back events, sites will be set up throughout communities nationwide so local residents can return their unwanted, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs for safe disposal.
Collection sites in every local community can be found by going to www.dea.gov . This site will be continuously updated with new take-back locations.
The National Prescription Drug Take-Back addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that many abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.
“Prescription drug abuse is a huge problem and this is a great opportunity for folks around the country to help reduce the threat,” Rosenberg said. "Please clean out your medicine cabinet and make your home safe from drug theft and abuse.”
In the previous nine Take-Back events nationwide from 2010-2014, 4,823,251 pounds,