National Drug Take-Back Day Scheduled for Oct. 29

Kate H. Gamble, Senior Editor
Published Online: Friday, October 28, 2011
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As part of an ongoing effort to fight prescription drug abuse, the US Drug Enforcement Administration is holding its third annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, October 29.

Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., individuals are encouraged to dispose of prescription drugs at designated collection sites around the country. To find the nearest collection site, click here.

According to a 2009 survey from the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than 7 million Americans abuse prescription drugs. The Partnership for a Drug Free America also reports that each day, about 2500 teens use prescription medications to get high for the first time. Research has shown that individuals who abuse these types of drugs obtain them by raiding the medicine cabinets of their friends and family members.

Previous take-back days on September 25, 2010, and April 25, 2011, collected more than 309 tons of medications by working with approximately 4000 state and local law enforcement agencies, according to DEA. The agency said it plans to continue collecting unwanted prescription drugs every 6 months until it has finished developing a process for individuals to safely dispose of these medications as set forth in the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 signed into law on October 12 by President Obama.

As part of American Pharmacists Month, pharmacists are encouraged to share information with patients about the October 29 take-back day activities in their area. State-specific DEA contact information is posted on the DEA Web site, along with a DEA Partner Toolbox for those interested in working with DEA on this important initiative. More information about drug disposal is posted on the SMARxT Disposal Web site.

“DEA’s activities are helping to raise awareness of the importance of proper medication disposal,” said Marcie Bough, PharmD, senior director of Government Affairs for the American Pharmacists Association, in a statement. “Pharmacies who already have voluntary take-back programs for noncontrolled substances may wish to use this opportunity to highlight their programs to further increase awareness as these programs are generally not limited to a single day.”

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