Prescription drugs are being misused and abused at alarming rates throughout the United States. As part of their efforts to address this problem, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is sponsoring a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on September 25. On that day, the DEA will collect potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction at sites nationwide from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are increasing at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.
For more information about DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and to find collection site locations, visit: www.JustThinkTwice.com or www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com. These sites will be continuously updated with new take-back locations.
Coalitions can help make this event a success by sharing information about the program with their community. In addition, anyone interested in helping to host a take back event in their community are encouraged to contact their local police or sheriff’s office, or by calling the appropriate DEA Field office.
The DEA has also developed various items to help coalitions promote National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. They include:
1. A web button you can place on your website, encouraging visitors to participate and find out more information about National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The button should be programmed to link to http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/takeback/.
2. Scripts for PSAs that can be used to promote the take back day
3. Sound bites that can be used when talking with the media about the program
4. Background information on the DEA Diversion program. The Office of Diversion is coordinating this effort.
5. A Fact Sheet on prescription drug abuse
6. DEA press release about the program
7. Q & A to provide more background on the program