Hopefully you and your family made it through the long winter season feeling nothing but happy and healthy. But if you just couldn’t keep those germs at bay, if someone has a chronic illness, or even if a family member had to have a surgical procedure recently then you may have drugs. Unused, unfinished, and unwanted prescriptions just sitting in your medicine cabinet. These unused drugs can pose a potential health and safety hazard in your home so the Drug Enforcement Division (DEA) of the U.S. Department of Justice is asking Americans, “Got Drugs?”
The question is part of their National Prescription Drug Take Back initiative in an effort to prompt citizens to take a look at in their medicine cabinets and to safely dispose of their prescription medications at one of the many sites set up across the country. This Saturday, April 30, 2016 is the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. A day dedicated to helping people safely dispose of those unused prescription drugs.
Police departments from all over the United States will take part in this program. From 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. they will give citizens a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications. The path for such programs was paved by a federal law passed and signed by President Obama in 2010.
According to the Take Back Your Meds website, “On September 29, 2010, the U.S. Congress unanimously passed a bill that helps Washington’s communities by removing a key barrier to creating a statewide program to safely return and dispose of left-over meds. President Obama signed the “Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010″ into law on October 12, 2010. Congress took action to support the creation of medicine take-back options that reduce prescription drug abuse and reduce the amount of pharmaceuticals getting into the environment.”
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is a great way to clean out those medicine cabinets as part of your spring cleaning while helping your community create safe, healthy, environment. The DEA wants us to be aware of the dangers of keeping prescription medications in your home after they are no longer being used. Medicines in the home are a leading cause of accidental poisoning and flushed or trashed medicines can end up polluting our waters. Rates of prescription drug abuse are alarmingly high – over half of teens abusing medicines get them from a family member or friend, including the home medicine cabinet, and often without their knowledge.
According to the website Drugs.com, “A U.S. government report shows that more than 70 percent of people who first misuse prescription drugs get them from their friends, relatives or simply take them without asking.”
In the previous ten events held since the passing of the law, over 5.5 million pounds of unwanted, unneeded or expired medications were surrendered for safe and proper disposal.
You can find a “Take Back” location near you on the U.S. Department of Justice Department of Drug Enforcement Division (DEA) website. This disposal service is free and anonymous for consumers, with no questions asked. Keep in mind that needles, sharps, asthma inhalers, and illicit drugs are not accepted at the drop box.
Be sure to spread the word to friends, family, and neighbors as well. Keeping our neighborhoods safe, healthy, and happy is a community effort. Take back your drugs and take back your community.