Prescription Drug Abuse: What You Need to Know About Drug Take Back Programs

Prescription Drug Abuse: What You Need to Know About Drug Take Back Programs 1

The medicine cabinet in your house may be your loved one’s first drug dealer. The rise of prescription drug abuse hasn’t ceased, and many people first experiment with prescription drugs that are in their homes. Approximately 5,750 people per day use a prescription drug for a non-medical purpose for the first time. How could that number be changed with prescription drug take back programs? Drug take back programs are gaining popularity to help stem the easy access to prescription drugs that can be abused. Many pharmacies are now participating in drug take back programs, and you may be able to find one in your local community.

What is a Drug Take Back Program?

Drug take back programs are the safe and environmentally sound way that you can dispose of leftover or expired medications. When you are no longer taking your medication, especially opioids or other narcotic prescription medications, you should dispose of them promptly and properly. How do you properly dispose of your unused or expired prescription drugs? If there is a drug take back program in your community take your prescription drugs there. There are typically locations close to your home or offered at your local pharmacy.

Pharmacies, local law enforcement agencies, one-day collection events, and mail-back programs are a combination of ways that communities are coming together to help curve prescription drug abuse. The most common drug take backs are at pharmacies and local police departments. What’s the difference between taking your drugs back to the pharmacy or a police department?

    • Pharmacies – many pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS are now participating in drug take back programs. Walgreens currently offers 600 drug disposal units in their stores and are adding another 900 units. CVS also has 750 units in stores and has donated 800 drug disposal units to police departments. Pharmacies are getting on board with drug take back programs because they know these programs can help stem the growing opioid crisis in our country. For many consumers, having drug take back units in pharmacies seems to be the best option because a pharmacy is where they go to get prescriptions, it should be where they take them back to. To find a pharmacy that has a prescription drug take back near you, search here.
    • Police Departments – Many people feel concern when they think about taking drugs to a police department, prescription or not. Since law enforcement agents aren’t doctors or pharmacies, some question where the drugs go and if they have to give personal information. The good news is that the drugs are destroyed, they are not recirculated or repurposed. Some police departments also organize drug drop off days to get more involvement in the community and to spread the importance of prescription drug take back programs. The DEA also states that prescription drug collectors can’t force you to give them any information about the medication you’re turning in or your prescriber. If you are unsure if your local police department participates in a drug take back program, you can search here.

There is no difference in taking your unused medications to a pharmacy or a police department, it is a matter of comfort and which is closer to your home. These efforts made on part of pharmacies and police departments is to aid the community and to help stem the opioid epidemic from starting in our homes.
If you have certain medications in your home and are unable to locate a drug take back program near you, you can dispose of the medications in your household trash or flush them immediately if they are no longer being taken. You can also dispose of unwanted and unneeded drugs in your household trash if there isn’t a drug take back day coming up soon in your area. Always educate yourself on the proper way to dispose of the medications as to not harm yourself, or your family.

Drug Take Back Day: What is it?

The National Take Back Initiative or more commonly referred to as the National Drug Take Back Day occurs twice annually. The drug take backs are in the spring and the fall all around the country. In April 2018, Americans turned in 949,046 pounds – 474.5 tons – of unused, expired and potentially dangerous prescription drugs in the span of a few hours. The first drug take back day was in September 2010, right after the CDC stated that there were enough prescription painkillers prescribed to keep every American adult medicated round-the-clock for a month straight.

After the first national drug take back day, the Controlled Substances Act was amended. This amendment made it possible for the DEA to develop a permanent process for people to dispose of their unused prescription drugs year-round. Ridding homes of their unwanted, unused and potentially addictive prescription drugs in homes is one of the four main strategies for reducing diversion of prescription drug abuse. Considering that 54 million people have used a prescription medication for a non-medical use at least once in their lifetime, drug take back programs could greatly help stem the opioid epidemic from continuing the way it has in recent years.

There is no sign up necessary to participate in national drug take back day, if you’re looking for drug take backs near Nashua, NH, there are some as close as 5 miles away.

When is the Next National Drug Take Back Day?

The next national drug take back day is Saturday, October 26th, 2019 from 10:00 am to 2 pm. Make sure that you have rounded up all prescription drugs to take back to a safe deposit spot in your neighborhood. Participating in a drug take back day near you can be the difference between a medicine cabinet, and a free drug dealer in your home. Help stem the opioid epidemic the country is facing by participating in your community. If you want to spread awareness in your neighborhoods, there are flyers available to print out. Drug take back programs are one way to help clean up our homes and prevent addiction before it starts. Don’t be the dealer, participate in your local drug take back program.

If you or a loved one are already struggling with prescription drug abuse or addiction, GateHouse Treatment can help you. Contact us today at (855) 448-3588. We can help you live a life free of prescription drugs.

GateHouse Treatment Editorial Staff
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