Disposing of Unused Medications Prevents Drug Thefts, Abuse, and Overdoses
Addictive prescription drugs that are thrown away or left untended on shelves and in drawers at home are often stolen and either abused or sold by family members and visitors. That's why the DEA and thousands of its state, local, and tribal law enforcement and community partners are holding another Prescription Drug Take Back Day this Saturday, April 29, from 10 to 2 local time, at over 5,000 sites around the country. The service is free of charge, no questions asked.
America is experiencing an epidemic of addiction, overdose, and death due to abuse of prescription drugs, particularly opioid painkillers. 6.4 million Americans age 12 and over -- 2.4 percent of the population -- abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health released last fall, more than abuse cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, and methamphetamine combined. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States, eclipsing deaths from motor vehicle crashes or firearms. The majority of prescription drug abusers report that they obtain their drugs from friends and family, including from the home medicine cabinet.
Last October, Americans turned in 366 tons (over 730,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at almost 5,200 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 12 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 7.1 million pounds -- more than 3,500 tons -- of pills.
The public can find a nearby collection site via the link below or by calling 800-882-9529. Only pills and other solids, like patches, can be brought to the collection sites -- liquids, needles, or other sharps will not be accepted.