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National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Promotes Safe Disposal of Dangerous Medications

April 27, 2018

The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) urges residents of the commonwealth to take advantage of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Saturday, April 28, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse and medications. This is the fifteenth year for the coordinated effort between the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and state and local law enforcement officials.

Prescription drug misuse, abuse, and overdose is a major health issue across the country. The escalation of the opioid epidemic has made these types of initiatives even more critical.

According to a 2015 survey in Pennsylvania: 

  • 41 percent of prescription-drug-using students indicated taking the drugs from a family member living in their home
  • 41.8 percent indicated that a friend or family member gave them to the student
  • 26.9 percent indicated that they bought them from someone
  • 14.1 percent indicated they took them from someone not related to them
  • 12.9 percent indicated they took them from relatives who were not living in their home

During the October 2017 National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Pennsylvania hosted 303 collection sites, the second largest number of locations in the country. The state collected nearly 37,000 pounds of prescription drugs.

The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) also has a web page dedicated to its Pennsylvania Prescription Drug Take-Back Box initiative. DDAP has worked to facilitate the installation of secure, permanent prescription drug take-back boxes in communities throughout the state. As of April 2017, there were 584 sites in 67 counties. You can find a permanent drug take-back location in your area at the DDAP web page.

Many Pennsylvania hospitals offer safe, secure ways to dispose of any prescription medication. If you need to discard a prescription drug, visit your local hospital, find disposal locations and information at the federal or state websites, or call local law enforcement.

For more information about how Pennsylvania hospitals and health systems are working to address addiction and the opioid crisis, contact Michael Consuelos, MD, HAP’s senior vice president, clinical integration. 

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