Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. April 26th, 10am – 2pm local time, wherever you are.
This initiative addresses an important public safety and public health issue, and is also a great excuse to make sure you’re always staying on top of keeping your medication organized, up to date, and that you’re only keeping what you need!
Why is keeping unused prescription drugs around so dangerous? First, there are the practical answers, like keeping medication around past their ability to be effective (you think you’re taking a pill that is supposed to help, and it doesn’t). But, of course, the real reason that these organizations are involved, is to help address issues related to prescription drug abuse around the country. According to a 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. The study states that more than four in 10 teens (42 percent) who have misused or abused a prescription drug obtained it from their parent’s medicine cabinet. Almost half (49 percent) of teens who misuse or abuse Rx medicines obtained them from a friend.
Having an option for safe collection (instead of resorting to flushing medication down the toilet, and impacting the water supply, or throwing out medication in the garbage, potentially to be found by others), this event is a way to ensure that drugs are collected and disposed of safely.
The Office of Diversion Control, joint effort between the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Agency, has hosted this event seven times already. The last time they did this, in October of 2013, they collected almost 650,000 lbs. (324 tons!) of prescription medication. To date, over the previous seven events, over 3.4 million pounds of drugs have been collected. (Where does your state fall on the list?)
All over the country, there are places you can take your prescription medicine, so that it is disposed of safely, conveniently and without questions. So, go clean out your medicine chests, travel toiletry bags, and any other place you store your medication, and find a Drop-Off Location near you.