Over 450 tons of prescription drugs collected on Drug Take Back Day
Breaking News Nov 09, 2017
Over 450 tons of prescription drugs collected on Drug Take Back Day

Americans turned out in huge numbers to surrender their excess stocks of prescription drugs, marking the success of the 14th edition of the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day (PDTBD). According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), people submitted a record-setting 456 tons of potentially hazardous unused, expired and/or unwanted prescription drugs for disposal at more than 5,300 collection sites.

The event held on Oct. 28, 2017, recorded an increase of six tons of discarded stocks of prescription drugs over the previous collections made on April 29, 2017. The DEA, since the fall of 2010, has collected around 9,015,668 pounds (4,508 tons) of prescription drugs. The DEA’s action came soon after President Donald Trump announced opioid crisis to be a national public health emergency and directed his entire administration to take immediate steps to address drug addiction and opioid abuse in the country.

In the U.S., a majority of people abusing prescription drugs source them from family and friends, as well as from medicine cabinets at home. Events like the PDTBD help people discard excess amounts of opioids and other medications from their homes and prevent their potential diversion and misuse. The DEA launched this program after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency cited the health hazards associated with usual drug disposal methods, including flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash.

According to DEA Acting Administrator Robert Patterson, misuse of opioid prescription drugs contributed to addiction more than any other substance. He also held prescription drug abuse responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic and subsequent high rates of overdose deaths in the country. “This is a crisis that must be addressed from multiple angles. Educating the public and removing these medications from households across the Unites States prevents misuse where it often starts,” he said.

Drug overdose deaths continue to rise

According to a nationwide survey, 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016, a 22 percent increase from 52,404 deaths in 2015. Many of these deaths involved heroin, fentanyl or a fentanyl analogue. According to a recent CDC report, fentanyl contributed to around 3,000 casualties out of 5,152 opioid overdose deaths in 10 states during the second half of 2016.

Initiatives such as the PDTBD can help create awareness about the issue among the general public. At the same time, it is important to encourage people struggling with substance abuse to seek treatment rather than suffering in silence. This can be achieved through societal support and de-stigmatization of drug addiction. Remember that drug addiction is a treatable behavioral disorder. If a person is grappling with addiction to opioids or any other harmful drug, he/she should immediately seek professional help from a reputed rehab.

Hooked Sober is a source of information on drugs, alcohol, eating disorders and mental disorders. Please send your questions, concerns or comments to [email protected] or speak to a representative at (866) 838-4087.

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