National Prescription Take Back Day aims to provide safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous.
As part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Saturday, Oct. 28, 10 a.m.–2 p.m., Palmetto Health, as a member of the Midlands Regional Trauma Advisory Committee, encourages community members to drop off expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs at Palmetto Health Richland, 5 Richland Medical Park Dr., front lawn.
“Palmetto Health Trauma Center strives to educate and inform the community about the potential for abuse and harm of prescription pain relievers. Through our collaborative efforts with local hospitals and EMS agencies, we are excited to be a prescription drug take back site during the DEA National Take Back Initiative,” said Jeremy Reeves, M.D., trauma surgeon and chair of the Midlands Regional Trauma Advisory Council. “It is imperative that unused prescription drugs are not getting into the wrong hands for recreational use.”
Last April, Americans turned in 371 tons (over 742,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at over 5,800 sites operated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners. In its six previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in over 2.8 million pounds – more than 1,400 tons – of pills.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines – flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash – both pose potential safety and health hazards.
“The vast majority of the young people we treat for a substance use disorder have experience abusing prescription medications that were obtained from a family medicine cabinet,” said Bryan Fox, director of Special Projects with Addiction Recovery Services at Palmetto Health and manager of the Adolescent Recovery Center. “Because the prevailing belief is that prescription medications are safer than illicit street drugs, most young people use them without regard for the inherent dangers of addiction and overdose. The single most effective thing you can do to protect your family is to properly dispose of old medications.”
DEA is in the process of approving new regulations that implement the Safe and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” (that is, a patient or pet or their family member or owner) of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long-term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances.
For more information about this program, visit the Drug Enforcement Administration’s website at www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov.