Harrisburg, PA – Do you have extra prescription medications you are not longer taking? Make sure they don’t fall into the wrong hands. Dispose of them safely by taking them to any of the hundreds of secure drug take-back locations. Although the locations are free and available all the time, today is a good reminder because it’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.
The departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) and Health (DOH) are encouraging all Pennsylvanians to take advantage of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) 20th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day initiative, Saturday, April 24.
“With more Pennsylvanians staying home to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, there has never been a more important time to properly dispose of unused and unwanted medications,” said DDAP Secretary Jennifer Smith. “Your participation can help keep your family and community safe and keep prescription medication out of the wrong hands. We can all do our part to help fellow Pennsylvanians.”
During the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, individuals may drop off unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medication at any of the hundreds of secure locations throughout the state. The service is free and anonymous.
“Drug Take-Back Day highlights the importance of getting rid of unused prescription drugs and preventing the disease of addiction and overdose deaths,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “Prescription drug misuse plays a large role in the opioid crisis, but each of us can play an active role in changing that. There are many locations across Pennsylvania where unused prescription drugs can be dropped off, with no questions asked.”
According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.7 million people misused prescription pain relievers, 4.9 million people misused prescription stimulants, and 5.9 million people misused prescription tranquilizers or sedatives in 2019. The survey also showed that a majority of misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from a home medicine cabinet.
The DEA has offered National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day since 2010 with the goal of fighting prescription drug misuse by creating convenient ways to dispose of medication that would otherwise be at risk of misuse in home medicine cabinets. During the October 2020 event, approximately 985,000 pounds of prescription medication was relinquished across nearly 4,600 collection sites nationwide. That day, Pennsylvanians contributed 36,949 pounds from 209 locations throughout the commonwealth.
Additionally, since the inception of Pennsylvania’s drug take-back program in 2014, there has been more than 840,000 pounds of prescription medication destroyed, with almost 900 take-back boxes established in all 67 counties throughout the commonwealth. In 2020, the program collected and destroyed 180,969 pounds of prescription medication.
Individuals seeking recovery resources for themselves or a loved one can call the toll-free PA Get Help Now helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). A live chat option is also available online or via text message at 717-216-0905 for those seeking help who may not be comfortable speaking to a helpline operator.
For more information on the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day visit takebackday.dea.gov.
Search Pennsylvania’s drug take-back locations at ddap.pa.gov/drugtakeback.
Find more information on the state’s efforts to battle the opioid crisis at pa.gov/opioids.