Why is it Important?
According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.2 million Americans misused prescription drugs in 2016 alone. These drugs were most often obtained from family members and friends, typically from, “the home medicine cabinet.” Considering the ongoing opioid crisis occurring in the United States, it is especially important for individuals who have unused prescription opioids in their medicine cabinets to dispose of them in a safe, effective manner, which is exactly the purpose National Take Back Day. Opioid overdose deaths nearly tripled between 2010 and 2016 in New York State alone, according to the NYS Department of Health’s 2018 Annual Opioid Report, from 5.4 deaths per 100,000 in 2010 to 15.1 deaths per 100,000 in 2016. Disposing of your old prescription drugs is a good way to ensure that they are not misused by at-risk friends or family.
Where Can I Dispose of Prescription Drugs?
During April 2019’s 17th National Take Back Day, New York State had 239 participating collection sites, and 171 law enforcement partners to help with the collection and disposal of unused and expired prescription medications; the total weight of collected prescriptions was 42,565 pounds in New York State alone.
To easily find a disposal location near you, the DEAs public disposal location search utility is an excellent tool. You can access it here. Remember that even if you miss National Take Back Day, the collection sites provided by this search tool are active year-round.
How Else Can I Help?
If you want to help further promote and raise awareness for National Take Back Day, the DEA provides a digital partnership toolbox that includes printable posters and pamphlets, as well as postable social media images for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These tools are when it comes to spreading the word, whether it be in your local community or through your social media circles; more partners means more awareness, which can act as a positive step in combating prescription medication abuse.
If you or a loved one are suffering from prescription medication addiction, New York State has resources that can help get you on the path to recovery.