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National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Set For April 30th

Medically reviewed on Apr 15, 2016 by L. Anderson, PharmD

Event will take place from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday, April 30th

On Saturday, April 30th, 2016 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm local time, communities will team up with law enforcement to host the 11th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. You can call the Drug Enforcement Agency's (DEA's) Registration Call Center at 1-800-882-9539 or check the DEA's website for collection sites in your area. The website will be continuously updated with new take-back locations.

DEA began hosting National Prescription Drug Take-Back events in 2010. At the previous 10 Take-Back Day events, over 5.5 million pounds of unwanted, unneeded or expired medications were surrendered for safe and proper disposal. The disposal service is free and anonymous for consumers, with no questions asked. Keep in mind that needles, sharps, asthma inhalers, and illicit drugs are not accepted at the drop box.

Prescription medications play an important role in the health of millions of Americans. However, expired medications or unused drugs often stay in the back of cabinets for months or even years. These expired drugs can pose significant health hazards to toddlers, teens and even family pets who may inadvertently consume medications. Some medications are so potent that even one dose could be fatal if accidentally ingested. Throwing away certain medications in trash cans or flushing them down the toilet can be an environmental health hazard, too.

There are other important safety issues: misuse of prescription narcotic drugs is increasingly a major public health concern. Over 46,000 Americans die each year from drug-related deaths, with more than half being from heroin and prescription opioids. A U.S. government report shows that more than 70 percent of people who first misuse prescription drugs get them from their friends, relatives or simply take them without asking. According to the Behavioral Health Trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), roughly one in 10 Americans aged 12 or older engaged in illicit drug use in the past 30 days, which includes 4.3 million people aged 12 or older who reported current "nonmedical" use of prescription pain relievers. "Nonmedical" use is defined as the use of prescription-type drugs not prescribed for the user by a physician or used only for the experience they cause. These statistics magnify the need for proper disposal of unused or expired prescription medications from the home.

Although the addiction epidemic has been deemed a public health crisis, individual health care providers must take action, too. In March, 2016 two federal agencies proposed measures to try to rein in prescription painkiller overprescribing. A guideline published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) -- Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, 2016 -- and new boxed warning label changes from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) highlight the need to educate health care professionals to address overprescribing of narcotics.

The DEA’s “Take-Back” initiative is one of four strategies under the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 to reduce prescription drug abuse and diversion in the United States. Additional strategies include education of health care providers, patients, parents and youth; establishing prescription drug monitoring programs in all 50 states; and increased enforcement to address illicit methods of prescription drug diversion.

Consumers may also continue to utilize the guidelines How to Dispose of Unused Medicines as posted by the FDA if they are not able to attend a scheduled Take-Back Day.

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