DEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is April 30

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Pharmacists can help raise awareness about the importance of safe medication disposal

In an effort to reduce the increasing rates of accidental poisonings and prescription drug abuse, DEA will again sponsor National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 30, 2016, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

The event is meant to promote safe disposal of unwanted, unused, or expired medication in accordance with the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 to reduce prescription drug abuse. A DEA news release reported that the agency’s 10 previous take-back days have collected 5.5 million pounds of drugs for safe and proper disposal by working with state and local law enforcement in locations across the country.

To find the nearest participating pharmacy or law enforcement department, visit the DEA website and select “Locate a collection site near you.” The website also features a “partnership toolbox” with resources for those interested in taking part in the initiative and letting patients know about the opportunity to discard stored prescriptions.

Studies show that the majority of prescription drugs abused are obtained from family and friends. Some mistakenly believe that expired drugs will have the same potency and effectiveness as they did when first prescribed. Interactions with current prescriptions are also a possibility, as well as redundant treatment. Flushing drugs is not advised because it could contaminate the water supply.

“If the public were more aware of disposal options and the risks associated with storing medicine, individuals will be more likely to dispose of these unwanted drugs, so we suggest considering additional ways to increase education regarding prescription drug disposal options, such as take-back programs,” Jenna Ventresca, JD, APhA Associate Director of Health Policy, told pharmacist.com. The Association supports national prescription drug take-back efforts.

Leading up to the April 30 take-back day, Walgreens announced that the company would install kiosks for the safe disposal of unused prescription drugs in 50 stores throughout California. “Our select California stores that have safe medication kiosks in place will offer a year-round opportunity for individuals to dispose of unwanted medications,” Phil Caruso, a Walgreens spokesperson, told pharmacist.com. Caruso said Walgreens will also host law enforcement in several of its pharmacies so patients can surrender their medications there.

CVS Health operates the Medication Disposal for Safer Communities donation program with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids to give local police departments the opportunity to apply for a drug collection unit in their communities to safely dispose of unwanted medications, including controlled substances.

“Proper disposal of unwanted prescription medication is critical to prevent abuse and we are proud to mark National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day with a number of important initiatives,” Tom Davis, BSPharm, vice president of pharmacy professional practices at CVS Health, said in a news release. “Taken together, our Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program, our patient resources on CVS.com, and our Take-Back events are helping us advance CVS Health’s purpose of helping people on their path to better health.”

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