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

October 24, 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, October 27, from 10 a.m. to 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 public about the potential for abuse of medications. This is the fifteenth year for the coordinated effort between the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) 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 the DEA, the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicates that 6.2 million Americans misused prescription drugs, the majority of which were taken from family or friends, often from a home medicine cabinet.

During the April 2018 National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Pennsylvania hosted 311 collection sites. The state collected nearly 38,000 pounds of prescription drugs.

The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) 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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