Expired, unused or otherwise unwanted prescription drugs can be safely discarded Saturday, April 26, during National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.
State Police, along with many local departments, are participating in the event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
To find the take-back box nearest you, just type your zip code into this DEA search bar.
This will be the eighth time in three years that police departments and the DEA have provided the public with an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.
Addressing A 'Vital Public Safety and Public Health Issue'
The DEA says this initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.
"Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misues, and abuse," the DEA states. "Rates of precription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs."
Almost twice as many Americans (6.8 million) currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and inhalants combined, according to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. And more Americans died in 2010 from overdoses of prescription medications (22,134, including 16,651 from narcotic painkillers) than from motor vehicle accidents, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the DEA, studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
In addition, the DEA states, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — both pose potential safety and health hazards.
"Last October, Americans turned in 324 tons (more than 647,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 4,000 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners. When those results are combined with what was collected in its seven previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 3.4 million pounds — more than 1,700 tons — of pills."
The DEA says it is in the process of approving new regulations that implement the Safe and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” (that is, a patient or their family member or pet owner) of controlled substance medications to dispose of them be delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long-term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances.