AARP is working with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and local law enforcement on Drug Take Back Day, Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This nation-wide campaign features thousands of Take-Back sites across the nation, including in Oregon. Expired or unwanted medications will be accepted.
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“With the support and hard work of our local law enforcement and community partners, including AARP, these events have not only dramatically reduced the risk of prescription drug diversion and abuse, but have also increased awareness of this critical public health issue,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.
“The amount of prescription drugs turned in by the American public during previous Take Back events was more than 300 tons of unwanted or expired prescription drugs. Clearly, there is a need for a convenient way to get rid of medications.”
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 — more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined, according to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Studies show that teens who abuse prescription drugs often obtain them from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.
The DEA’s Take-Back events are a significant piece of the White House’s prescription drug abuse prevention strategy released by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Purging America’s home medicine cabinets of neglected drugs is one of four strategies for reducing prescription drug abuse and diversion laid out in Epidemic: Responding to America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis. The other strategies include education of health care providers, patients, parents and youth; establishing prescription drug monitoring programs in all the states; and increased enforcement to address doctor shopping and pill mills.
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