This Earth Day, we encourage all Americans to take action to protect the planet while protecting their health by making plans to participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday, April 26th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Many prescription drugs that lie unused in home medicine cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Research has shown that about 70 percent of those who abused prescription pain relievers in the past year obtained them from family or friends – and often from the home medicine cabinet – the last time they used them.
The environmentally responsible disposal of these drugs is a pillar of the Obama Administration’s plan to prevent prescription drug abuse. While you may have heard flushing your old pills down the toilet is the best way to dispose of them, that’s not necessarily true. Medicines that go down the drain end up in our water supply, where they can damage the environment. Saturday’s Take-Back Day is a convenient opportunity to get rid of unneeded medicine and prevent these drugs from entering our water supply.
In 2010, approximately 100 people died every day from opioid drug overdoses, and prescription opioids were involved in 43 percent of those overdose deaths. Opioid drug abuse has devastated thousands of communities across the country. As ONDCP Acting Director Michael Botticelli recently put it, “This is an epidemic of the medicine cabinet.”
If you have unneeded or expired prescription drugs at home, we strongly encourage you to drop them off at a safe, legal collection site in your neighborhood on Saturday, April 26, as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.
Take-Back Days are vital to supporting the Administration’s efforts to reduce the accessibility of illegal drugs and combat substance abuse. They provide a responsible and convenient way for people to properly dispose of their prescription drugs, and they help educate the public about the potential for their abuse. Since its launch in September 2010, the Take-Back Day initiative has resulted in the collection and proper disposal of 3.4 million pounds of medication – including 647,211 pounds collected during last year’s event.
The Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act, passed by Congress in 2010, requires DEA to draft regulations that will provide for more convenient disposal of prescription drugs. The new rule is expected to be issued before the end of the year and paves the way for an easier and environmentally responsible means of disposal in communities across the country.
This year’s Take-Back Day will occur nationwide from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 26th. Disposal sites will be set up in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and U.S. territories. Find a take-back location near you today.