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Chester County Press

Prescription Drug Take Back Day is April 28

04/25/2018 09:31AM ● By J. Chambless

Chester County’s Department of Drug & Alcohol Services is spreading community awareness for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day set for April 28. Organized nationwide by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), National Prescription Drug Take Back Day provides temporary local sites for safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while educating the public about the potential for abuse of medications.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, temporary prescription drug disposal sites will be located throughout Chester County, in locations including Avondale, Coatesville, Downingtown, Phoenixville and West Grove. Find a location near you.

Prescription drug abuse is an ever-growing epidemic not only in Chester County, but across the nation. Commonly misused and abused prescription drugs fall into three different categories which include opioids, which are pain relievers and have a similar chemical make up as heroin; sedatives, which are used to treat anxiety and depression; and stimulants, which increase attention, energy, blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate.

“According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the average age for the first misuse of prescription drugs in the United States is 13 years old,” said Vince Brown, Director of the Chester County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services. “Prescription drugs are often mistaken by adolescents as a ‘safe’ alternative to illegal street drugs, which leads to increased use. There is also a misconception that prescription drugs are safer than illegal drugs because they are easily accessible in medicine cabinets and homes. Both of these factors lead to increased use.

“In order to decrease first time misuse of prescription drugs, it is imperative to begin with prevention efforts,” added Brown. “As well as education and awareness, prescription drug misuse prevention includes locking up or monitoring prescription medications that are in the home and disposing of any unneeded or expired prescription medications at a medication collection box.”

Prescription painkillers such as Vicodin, Percocet, Oxycodone, Fentanyl, and Morphine are classified as opioids. Opioid prescription drugs essentially have the same chemical make-up as heroin, which means they affect the brain and body the same, and the play a large role in the opioid and heroin use and overdose epidemic.

To learn more, or to get involved, visit the newly created Overdose Prevention Task Force website, or download the Opioid Epidemic Community Tool Kit.

There are also 23 permanent collection boxes for prescription drugs located in Chester County. Find the list at chesco.org/2673/Medication-Drop-Off.

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