Many people use prescription medications as part of their daily routine to help treat disease and improve their health. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that the most frequently prescribed drugs fall in the “therapeutic class,” which includes Analgesics, Antiheperlipidemic agents, and Antidepressants like Zoloft and Lexapro.
Prescription painkillers are frequently prescribed to help with pain management associated with short-term or chronic conditions. That said, over-prescription and long-term storage of narcotics like Vicodin and Oxycontin have led to widespread misuse. The misuse of prescription painkillers can have dire consequences. As the CDC notes, “in the worst cases, 8 out of 10 heroin users began by abusing prescription painkillers.” In response to spiking misuse statistics, overdoses, and deaths, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) promotes a national program designed to provide safe and secure collection sites for the disposal of expired or unused prescription medications.
During the spring event, the National Drug Take-Back Day saw an astonishing turnout:
- A record 447 tons of prescription medication were collected
- 5,400 independent collection sites throughout all 50 states participated in the event
- More prescription drugs were turned in than in any other of the previous 10 events
Unused medications should be disposed of when their use is no longer required and they should not be left in the household. The CDC and DEA provide guidelines where people can find safe methods of disposal.
This year’s second “Take-Back Day” event will be held on Saturday, October 22. For more information about locating a collection site or if your organization is interested in becoming one of the thousands of safe collection facilities, visit the event’s website.