National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
By Steven Hoffman
This Saturday, Oct. 27, is the DEA's National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
It is an opportunity for all of us to do something small to help prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day was established as a way for people to safely dispose of unwanted, unused, and expired prescription drugs so they can't be stolen or abused. So if you have any prescription drugs in the medicine cabinet that aren't needed, this is an opportunity to ensure that they won't fall in the wrong hands.
In 2016 alone, 6.2 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. One in five high school students have abused prescription drugs, studies also show. The most common way for people to obtain the prescription drugs was from the medicine cabinets of their family and friends. According to some estimates, roughly 70 percent of all abused prescription drugs come from family and friends. The abuse of prescription drugs can lead to numerous problems, one of them being the use of illegal drugs, which are usually stronger and more dangerous than prescription drugs. Each day, 115 Americans die as a result of an opioid overdose. Such overdoses are now the leading cause of death for people under the age of 50.
The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is one way to help address the opioid crisis, and to help prevent drug addiction and accidental deaths from overdoses. Since the event was established in 2010, more than 10 million pounds of drugs have been collected. These collections have also helped to protect our water supply because the drugs and medications are properly disposed of.
In Chester County, the amount of drugs collected at various points during these Take Back Days has increased in recent years—from 1,392 pounds in 2014 to more than 10,000 pounds in 2017.
This Saturday, the Kennett Township Police Department will be accepting unused medications, as will the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department at its West Grove office. These are just two of the local police departments that will be accepting unused medications from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
While National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is important because of the attention that it brings to the need to properly dispose of unwanted prescription medications, and most importantly because it removes millions of pounds of drugs from our homes, it is hardly the only day when unused or expired drugs can be disposed of.
The Chester County District Attorney's Office, in partnership with the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association and police departments throughout the county, established permanent medication collection boxes. These boxes offer residents the opportunity to safely and anonymously dispose of unwanted and expired drugs and medication. The drugs are dropped in locked boxes so that they can later be disposed of by law enforcement officials. There are also numerous locations throughout Chester County that have permanent collection boxes, including the following:
Kennett Square Borough Police Department
115 North Broad Street, Kennett Square, Pa. 19348
57 North Fourth Street, Oxford, Pa. 19363
Southern Chester County Regional Police Department
385 Starr Road, Suite 100, Landenberg, PA 19350
A full list of the locations of the medication collection boxes can be found on Chester County's website.
There are signs that the tide is beginning to turn in the battle against drug addiction, particulary the use of opioids. After more than two decades of explosive growth, there are fewer opioid prescriptions being written because doctors are more aware of the dangers of the drugs. But the opioid epidemic is far from over, and it's critical to simply get rid of any unused or expired drugs and medications.
SLUG: Editorial Oct. 24