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Friday, October 21, 2016

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

prescription opioids
Even if you are not in recovery, or work in the field of addiction medicine, you can play a role in helping to end the American opioid epidemic. Every year, millions of prescription opioids are handed out by doctors to American patients. The United States accounts for about 5 percent of the planet’s population, yet we prescribe and consume the vast majority of all opioid narcotics.

Naturally, not everyone who is prescribed a painkiller is going to abuse them, or become dependent on the drugs. In many cases, people prescribed opioids for pain will only use the drug until the pain eases up. They often have leftover drugs that will just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust. While it may not seem like a big deal to just forget about one’s unwanted or unneeded medications, in actuality, many peoples' initiation into the world of prescription opioids is made possible by a friend or family member's prescription.

In fact, many Americans have no problem diverting some of their Vicodin or OxyContin to someone in need, even though the act is illegal. They will often do this despite having the knowledge that we are in the grips of an epidemic, believed to be caused by prescription opioids. It is crucial that unwanted medications are disposed of safely, so they do not end up in the wrong hands or lead to another person developing an opioid use disorder.

On October 22nd, Americans across the country can take part in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. The event, which is organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), could help keep millions of unwanted opioids out of the wrong hands. With more than 5,000 collection sites nationwide, there will be ample opportunity to dispose of your drugs. You can find a location close to you by clicking here.

Additionally, the White House points out that major pharmacies are doing their part to help with the cause:
  • Walgreens Pharmacy has installed more than 500 drug disposal kiosks at pharmacies in 35 states and Washington, D.C.
  • CVS Pharmacy has donated more than 600 disposal units to law enforcement and is holding more than 125 events across the country for Take-Back Day.
If you have unwanted medication, please keep in mind that safely disposing of those drugs could save lives.

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