The annual “drug take back” event conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been a huge success in terms of ensuring effective disposal of unused or expired prescription medications that could aggravate the ongoing opioid crisis. On the 15th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day held on April 28, the DEA collected a record-breaking 1 million pound or 475 tons of unwanted prescription drugs from nearly 6,000 sites across the country. Official records show that the DEA has collected and destroyed almost 10 million pounds of medications since 2010.
The event is a classic example of successful state efforts to spread public awareness about prescription drug misuse, and nip the problem in the bud by removing potentially addictive medications from households across the nation. Highlighting the importance of such events, DEA Acting Administrator Robert Patterson said that the drug take back day is an opportunity for every American to play his or her part, along with local, state and federal partners, in stopping the spread of opioid addiction.
Besides curbing addiction, the event can be considered one of the safest ways to dispose of unused medications as opposed to flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in trash cans that can lead to both health and environmental hazards. The next Prescription Drug Take Back Day is scheduled for Oct. 27, 2018.
Fighting prescription opioid crisis
Experts say the initiative holds the key to better public health and safety at a time when opioids are being abused by all sections of the society, including children and teenagers. Studies show that unused and expired drugs in medicine cabinets at homes often end up in wrong hands. Research indicates that opioid addiction can alter an individual’s brain and behavior, making it impossible to control his/her compulsive drug-seeking urges. Once neck-deep in addiction, chronic opioid users can go to any extent to satisfy their drug cravings by breaking medicine cabinets to steal pills, engaging in doctor shopping, or even purchasing illicit drugs online.
The opioid epidemic continues to wreak havoc on the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) blames the innumerable prescriptions written by American doctors for the rise in overdose deaths in the country. Statistics show that nearly 21 to 29 percent of patients misuse opioids prescribed for chronic pain, and between 8 and 12 percent of them develop an addiction to painkillers.
Fortunately, opioid addiction is treatable with timely medical intervention. If a person is grappling with opioid use disorder, he/she should immediately seek professional help from a reputed drug treatment center. It is worth mentioning here that seeking drug abuse help at a reputed rehab can go a long way in fighting the prescription opioid crisis.
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