This weekend, the Drug Enforcement Administration is helping Americans do a little responsible spring-cleaning and bring awareness to the growing problem prescription drug abuse at the same time. The DEA’s 4th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day takes place this Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. nationwide where anyone can discard their unused, unwanted, and expired prescription drugs in a safe and anonymous way.
“Take Back Day is important because it gives us an opportunity to do a public service by collecting unused, unwanted, and expired drugs that are sitting in people’s houses, in their medicine cabinets, and they really don’t know what to do with them, and they just continue to collect them and they pile up,” Harry S. Sommers, special agent in charge of the DEA Atlanta field division, told CNN on Friday.
It’s a timely event as recent studies have shown that prescription drug abuse is on the rise, and, in fact, as Sommers points out, “Prescription drugs, most studies show now, are the most abused drug this side of marijuana in America today.”
The danger of having extra prescription drugs lingering around a household are two-fold: 1) Children, teens, and their friends can, and often do, get into the medicine cabinet and take the drugs for recreational use, often times leading to addiction; and 2) Those who the drugs were prescribed to are more likely to return to that drug when it’s not necessary. For instance, one day you’re prescribed Vicodin after a surgery, and the next month you are taking it to simply feel good or for minor aches and pains.
Another recent study showed that prescription drug abuse often begins at the hand of a family member or friend “lending” that friend or relative one of their prescription pills for simple ailments such as headaches, back pain, and muscle aches that could be easily treated with over-the-counter pain medicines. According to the study, based on data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health released this Wednesday, more than 70% of people who abuse prescription painkillers have obtained the drug from friends or family.
So, what can you do to participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day? Go through your medicine cabinets, gather up all expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs (they’ll even take over-the-counter drugs as long as it’s not in liquid form), and march on over to your local drug collection agency.
The DEA has made the drug drop-off process easy by setting up a website where you enter your city and zip code, and it provides you with a list of free and anonymous collection sites in your area. Approximately 5,000 collections sites are participating nationwide.
To find out where to drop off your prescription drugs, go to: http://1.usa.gov/IdKOc3
Passages Malibu and Passages Ventura support the DEA’s 4th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and encourages everyone to discard their drugs safely this Saturday.