National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Is Saturday, October 28

By Victoria Kim 10/26/17

About 450 tons of prescription drugs were collected during last April's take-back event.

various prescription medication bottles

The 14th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day will take place on Saturday, October 28.

Law enforcement agencies across the U.S. will host these take-back events across the country, giving people the chance to safely dispose of unwanted and unused prescription drugs. 

These events are more important than ever. Most people who misuse prescription drugs get them from a friend or family member; most are given while others buy or steal them from loved ones’ medicine cabinets.

Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. Of the 52,404 fatal drug overdoses reported in 2015, 20,101 of them involved prescription opioids, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).

The misuse of prescription opioids has quadrupled in tandem with sales of these drugs since 1999, according to the CDC. 

The last take-back event was in April, collecting a record high of 450 tons (or 900,386 pounds) of prescription drugs from 5,500 sites across the country.

Prescription drug misuse has also given rise to a growing market for tamper-proof pill boxes and other methods of storing medication. 

One sheriff’s deputy proved this year that even the authorities collecting the disposed meds are vulnerable to abuse. This month, it was reported that a deputy with the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia was caught stealing a “significant quantity of pharmaceuticals” from the area’s take-back initiative.

Sheriff Donna Tompkins explained in a press conference that “several members” of the sheriff’s office claimed they saw an off-duty Cpl. Bridget Goolsby “retrieving meds from these drop boxes” located at the Citizens Service Center.

This prompted an investigation and a search of Goolsby’s home, where investigators reportedly seized “a garbage bag full of medication” stuffed with more than 1,000 pills.

The DEA has collected more than 8 million pounds (about 4,000 tons) of prescription drugs since its first take-back event in 2010, according to a May 2017 press release by the agency.

“Too often, unused prescription drugs find their way into the wrong hands,” said former acting DEA head Chuck Rosenberg. “That’s why it was great to see thousands of folks from across the country clean out their medicine cabinets and turn in—safely and anonymously—a record amount of prescription drugs.”

Find your local take-back event here:

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr