The non-medical use of prescription drugs ranks second only to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in America. As such, the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day was created by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with a goal to provide a safe way for people to discard unused prescription drugs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have classified prescription drug misuse and abuse as a national epidemic; citing a 102% increase in prescription drug related overdose deaths from 1999 to 2010. Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows that nearly one-third of people over the age of 12, who used drugs for the first time in 2009, began doing so by using a prescription drug non-medically. By participating in this nation-wide event, the DEA is contributing to public safety by helping to rid communities of drugs that could lead to accidental poisoning, overdoses and abuse.
During the fall 2013 Take-Back day, Americans turned in more than 647,000 pounds of prescription drugs at more than 4,000 sites operated by the DEA. Combined with results from prior events, the DEA and its partners have collecte
d more than 3.4 million pounds of expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.
You can turn in your unused or expired medications for safe disposal on April 26 between 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. For more information on this program, including a Take-Back Site Locator and a Partnership Toolbox, visit the Drug Enforcement Administration website.
The other day, I found myself wondering how different types of employers work to deter drug use. I recently visited my family physician for my annual checkup. After the examination, he took a pad of paper and wrote me a prescription for some allergy medication. I happened to be working on a new piece of literature regarding medical professional testing and I began to wonder, “What’s keeping him from writing a prescription for himself?” Fortunately for patients like me, and for the employers of healthcare professionals, there are drug testing panels aimed at monitoring and deterring drug use among those professions with prescriptive authority.
Despite their knowledge and training, medical professionals are just as at risk for substance abuse as the general public. Drug abuse by these highly technical and deeply trusted professionals can impact their ability to make good decisions and to otherwise function at their full capacity. This, in turn, puts the patient, the medical professional and the employer at risk.
Because of the potential drug use by medical professionals, the ease of access provided by their roles and the immense liability it can bring to an organization, Quest Diagnostics has developed a comprehensive and customizable panel that tests for both illicit drugs, and for other drugs that are readily available to medical professionals. Read our brochure to learn more about these specialized drug testing panels and how they can help keep both physicians and their patients safe.
As a new employee at Quest Diagnostics, there’s hardly a day that goes by that I don’t learn something new about the world of drug testing. Like some of you, I have a lot to learn about the industry. During my first year of employment, I’m going to write this weekly column highlighting drug testing procedures, products and processes as I discover them. To learn more about my journey, you can read my introductory post.