National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day: Saturday, Sept. 25

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National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day: Saturday, Sept. 25

Prescription drug abuse has skyrocketed this decade

By Elizabeth Hanink, RN, BSN, PHN
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The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is teaming with state and local officials and community organizations to initiate the first National Prescription Drug Take-Back. Americans all across the country are asked to return all unused, unwanted and expired prescription medications to drop-off points on September 25, 2010, between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm.

The entire process is free, anonymous and with no questions asked. Any prescription or over-the-counter drug in capsule, tablet or liquid form is eligible. The drop-off centers will not accept injectable medications or drug paraphernalia, nor will illegal drugs be accepted.

A growing public health problem

For local sites, check out and enter your zip code. Most drop-off stations in Los Angeles County are offices of the county sheriff. If you don’t see one near you, check back as more sites are being added daily.

Several locales have held similar take-backs in the past, but this is the first nationwide effort, and DEA officials hope it will call attention to a growing public health problem. Over the past decade, abuse of prescription drugs, especially opiates, has skyrocketed. The problem extends across all demographics and regions: a whopping 56 percent of people seeking treatment for a prescription drug addiction admit to illicitly obtaining medication from a friend or family member.

Don’t flush or throw in the trash

Prescription drugs can be just a dangerous as street drugs and lead to the same overdoses and poisonings. Improper disposal of drugs also can lead to environmental hazards if they are thrown in the trash or flushed down the toilet.

Among young people ages 12-17, prescription drugs, such as pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives, have become the second most abused illegal drug behind marijuana.    
        — Office of National Drug Control Policy

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