By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions
Twice each year, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in partnership with local law enforcement hosts a National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.
This year, the spring take-back day is fast approaching. It will occur on Saturday, April 30.
The purpose is twofold. The first is to provide a responsible, safe, convenient, and environmentally correct way for you to dispose of outdated or unused tablets, capsules, patches, and other non-liquid forms of prescription medications. Vaping devices and cartridges also are accepted, providing that lithium batteries have been removed. Please note that liquids, syringes, sharpies, and illicit drugs are not be accepted.
If unused medications are flushed down the toilet, they can contaminate the water supply. If they are thrown into the garbage, they can potentially be retrieved and either abused or illegally resold.
The National Drug Take-Back Day also provides an opportunity to educate the public about the potential for abusing prescription medications.
For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that well over 100,00 people died of a drug overdose during that 12-month period that ended on Nov. 30, 2021, which is the highest number ever recorded.
The DEA reports that drug overdose deaths now claim more than 290 lives here in the U.S. every day. More than 130 deaths every day can be blamed on overdosing on opioids.
A report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicates that the majority of people who misuse prescription medications obtained the drugs from family, friends, and acquaintances.
The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day saves lives and protects the environment. The DEA estimates that 15 million pounds of unused or outdated medications have been taken out of circulation since the inception of the Take-Back program.
To find one of the more than 4,000 locations nationwide that are participating in the April 30 event near you, go to https://www.dea.gov/takebackday#collection-locator
Besides the Take-Back event, year-round receptacles are available at more than 13,000 pharmacies, hospitals, police departments, and business.