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Safely Dispose of Drugs During National Take-Back Day April 28

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Maybe you missed the previous events, scheduled days when the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) took back all kinds of unused and unwanted prescription drugs at various locations across the country.

Well, there’s another event coming up the end of this month, the 4th National Take-Back Day scheduled for Saturday, April 28, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. So now is the time to gather up all those bottles and containers of leftover drugs you forgot you even had, or scour the medicine cabinet, glove compartment, your purse and desk drawers for prescriptions you no longer want or need.

Leftover Drugs Remain a Big Problem

It isn’t just that these prescriptions sit around unused in our homes, offices and cars. The fact is that their very presence constitutes a real danger and risk to us and our children, other relatives, friends, and even pets.

According to the 2010 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than seven million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs. The majority of these were nonmedical users of psychotherapeutic drugs, including 5.1 million users of pain relievers, 2.2 million users of tranquilizers, 1.1 million users of stimulants, and 374,000 users of sedatives.

That’s a whole lot of abuse of OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax, Valium, Ritalin and other prescription drugs.

Every day, approximately 2,500 teenagers use prescription drug to get high for the first time, says the Partnership for a Drug Free America. Numerous studies show that the vast majority of these abused prescription drugs are easily obtained from family and friends. They’re accessible day and night in locations around the home, including nightstands, the kitchen counter, and the bathroom medicine cabinet.

Results of Previous Take-Back Day Events

The last National Take-Back Day event held October 29, 2011, netted a whopping 188.5 tons (more than 377,086 pounds) of expired, unused and unwanted medications. These were turned into 5,327 take-back sites in all 50 states where they were subsequently safely and properly disposed of.

Looking back at the last three events combined over the past 13 months, the cumulative total of drugs removed from circulation totaled 498.5 tons (995,185 pounds).

Gather Up Unused, Expired, and Unwanted Prescription Drugs Now

Don’t wait until the last minute to get started. Go through your medicine cabinet and other locations today where you store all your prescription medications. Check for those that have expired dates on them, as well as medications you haven’t taken and have been accumulating around the house.

By all means, secure these medications where children and pets are unable to get at them. You certainly don’t want an accidental overdose to occur before you have the opportunity to safely dispose of them. Remember, flushing them down the toilet or tossing them in the garbage container are not safe ways to get rid of prescription drugs. The toxins get into the water supply and soil and create problems further down the line.

Remember: Saturday, April 28, 2012 is right around the corner. Mark your calendar and get ready to drive to the most conveniently located take-back site on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. This is a good thing to do, and you can rest more comfortably knowing that you’ve safely disposed of unwanted and unused drugs that have been sitting around your house.

This is also an excellent time to encourage your friends, neighbors and other family members to do the same.

Check to find a collection site near you by visiting the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control website. All you need to do is enter your zip code or city, county and state and select search radius of 10, 20, 50 or 100+ miles and click “submit.” New sites are being added daily, so check back often if you don’t find a collection area near you right away.

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