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National Prescription Drug Take Back Day


Published: October 21, 2021

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day gives people a chance to safely dispose of expired or unused medications in order to prevent medical complications or illegal activity with those drugs. This nationwide effort dedicated to bringing communities together to clean out their medicine cabinets is taking place on October 23, 2021. 

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has found that drug take back programs are proven to prevent drug abuse and keep controlled substances out of the wrong hands. 

Why Do We Need Drug Take Back Day?

Drug Take Back Day emerged as a result of the opioid epidemic, which was declared a public health emergency in 2017 by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Opioid misuse began in the late 1990s when healthcare providers began prescribing these drugs at a high rate. The healthcare community started prescribing opioids due to reassurances from pharmaceutical companies that opioids were not addictive. However, it soon became clear that opioids were highly addictive as misuse and overdoses rose throughout the country.

Now, over 10 million people misuse prescription opioids every year, with over 70,000 people dying each year from overdoses. In 2020 alone, over 93,000 people died of a drug overdose. A majority of time, misused prescription drugs are obtained from the user’s family or friends, often from a home medicine cabinet. 

Not only are prescription drugs additive, but drugs that are stored improperly can easily become toxic or less effective, leading to potentially serious medical conditions.

20th National Take Back Day: April 24, 2021

The most recent National Prescription Drug Take Back Day occurred on April 24, 2021, and it was a tremendous success:

  • Total law enforcement participation: 4,425
  • Total collection sites around the United States: 5,060
  • Total weight of drugs collected: 839,543 pounds or 420 tons

The DEA’s first Take Back Day occurred on September 25, 2010, and since then, over 14 million pounds of prescription drugs have been safely discarded. 

National Prescription Drug Take Back Days have played a prominent role in eliminating drug misuse and overdose. However, even if you miss a Take Back Day, you can still dispose of any unwanted or expired medications at a controlled substance public disposal location. Click here to find the one closest to you. 

Contact Rockland Treatment Center

Rockland Treatment Center understands the significant effect that living with addiction can have on a person’s quality of life. If you believe you or a loved one may be struggling with substance abuse, contact Rockland Treatment Center today to start on your road to recovery.

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