The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day has as its mission the providing of a safe, convenient, and responsible means to dispose of prescription drugs; while at the same time educating the general public regarding the potential for abuse of prescription medications.
Drowning in Prescription Drugs
Take-Back Day addresses a vital issue of public health and safety, with more than seven million Americans abusing drugs as of 2009 statistics; and an average of 2,500 teenagers using prescription drugs every day to get high for the first time. Studies also show that the majority of prescription drugs being abused are obtained from friends and family; and the home medicine cabinet.
The 2011 SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows-up that twice as many Americans are regularly abusing prescription drugs than the number of Americans using heroin, cocaine, hallucinogens and inhalants—combined. The study also reveals that 70 percent of those abusing prescription painkillers/relievers obtained them through relatives or friends, including raiding the home medicine cabinet.
How Take-Back Day Rolled Out
2010 First National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day
Beginning in October of 2010, the first-ever national campaign of prescription drug Take-Back was implemented, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced its “overwhelmingly successful results” with the American public turning-in more than 121 tons (242,000 pounds) of prescription drugs. Turned-in at more than 4,000 take-back sites across all 50 states, the drugs were relinquished for safe and proper disposal.
2011 Second National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day
The second U.S.DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day held on April 30th resulted in Americans turning-in more than 188 tons (376,593 pounds) of expired or unwanted prescription medications (drugs) for proper and safe disposal. Drug Take-Back sites numbering 5, 361 in all 50 states took back 55 percent more prescription drugs than the previous Take-Back Day the September before.
Third National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day
The Third National Prescription Drug Take-Back event held by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on October 29th took back 188.5 tons (377,086 pounds) of expired or unwanted prescription drugs for proper and safe disposal. Americans across 50 states turned-in the prescription drugs at 5,327 take-back sites.
The cumulative results of the three Take-Back Days through the combined efforts of the DEA, local, state and tribal law-enforcement and community partners totaled 498.5 tons (995,185 pounds) of prescription medications removed from circulation in the previous 13 months.
2012 Fourth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day
The Fourth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day collected a record 276 tons (552,161 pounds) of expired or unwanted prescription drugs, turned-in on April 28th at 5, 659 take-back sites available in the 50 states and U.S. territories.
The combined results of the four Take-Back Days totaled more than 774 tons (1.5 million pounds) of prescription medication from circulation.
2013 Fifth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day
It was the fifth time in just two years that Americans across the nation emptied their medicine cabinets, kitchen drawers, and bedside nightstands of unused, unwanted and expired prescription drugs; and took them to take-back collection sites throughout the nation.
On September 29th, Americans turned-in 244 tons (488,395 pounds) of prescription medications to 5,263 take-back locations in all 50 states.
The cumulative total of prescription drugs taken-back and removed from circulation to that point in time was 1,018 tons—more than 2 million pounds.
2013 Sixth National Prescription Take-Back Day
The DEA noted that the American public had embraced the opportunity to prevent pill theft and abuse in their homes. The volume of prescription drugs turned-over demonstrated the need for the Take-Back Day opportunity to safely and properly discard unused, unwanted and expired prescription drugs.
On April 27th, Americans turned-in 371 tons (742,497 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,829 locations across the United States.
With the total drugs collected at the Sixth Take-Back Day combined with all previous amounts taken-back at the prior five Take-Back Days, more than 1,409 tons—more than 2.8 million pounds—of prescription drugs were removed from circulation.
2013 Seventh National Prescription Take-Back
Americans again responded enforce on November 6th, turning-in 324 tons (647,211 pounds) of unwanted and expired prescription drugs for proper and safe disposal. Take-back sites in the District of Columbia, all 50 states, and the U.S. Territories provided 5,683 locations for “no questions asked” drop-off of prescription drugs, resulting in the second-largest collection in the seven Take-Back Days.
To date, the DEA and participating agencies and community partners have removed 1, 733 tones—more than 3.4 million pounds—of prescription medications from circulation.
2014 Eighth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day
In May, Americans once again dropped-off unwanted and expired prescription drugs at 6,072 collection sites across the U.S. and its territories, turning over 390 tons—780,158 pounds—of prescription medications.
Added to totals of all prior Take-Back Days, the cumulative total to date of prescription drugs taken-back and removed from circulation to a whopping 2, 123 tons—or 4.1 million pounds of drugs.
2014 Ninth and Final Prescription Drug Take-Back Day
The DEA held its final and most recent Take-Back Day just last week, on the 27th of September, 2014. There were 5,200 collections sites open across the country between the hours of 10 A.M. and 2 P.M., local times. As with all previous Take-Back Days, the service was anonymous, “no questions asked”, and free-of-charge.
At the time of this writing, the totals of unwanted and expired prescription drugs turned-over for proper and safe removal from circulation are not yet available. But what we can know from the numbers to date, Americans are indeed drowning in prescription drugs.