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Health & Science

Feds to host prescription medicine take-back event to prevent drug abuse

Prescription medicine
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There are also locations that are available where people can drop off prescription medication year round, the DEA said.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will hold a prescription drug take-back day on Saturday, April 30.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 4,000 locations across the country, including multiple locations around Northeast Ohio, to anonymously dispose of unneeded medications, according to a DEA media release.

“The drug take-back day is an opportunity to bring in those unwanted, unused, expired medications — get them out of your homes,” said Brian McNeal, a spokesperson for the DEA. “Research has shown that many drug addictions begin with the home medicine cabinet, and this is an opportunity to get that link of supply out of the chain, and we can end abuse before it actually begins.”

The agency has held these take back events twice a year for 11 years, McNeal said. At the event last October, officials collected over 22,000 pounds of medication in Cleveland alone, he added.

“Disposing of unneeded medications can help prevent drugs from being misused,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “Overdose deaths continue to hit tragic record highs. I encourage everyone to dispose of unneeded prescription medications now.”

Drug overdose deaths in the U.S. rose 16% in the last year, according to the DEA. That means across the country more than 290 people died every day.

The majority of people who misuse a prescription medication got them from a family member or a friend, according to the DEA.

“It's also a good idea to think about how you're storing those medications,” said McNeal. “When does someone have privacy in your home? It's when they're in your bathroom.”

Often that’s where we store medications, he pointed out.

“Who knows who's going into our bathrooms — what issues they're facing?” he said. “It could be a friend, a child or friend of a child, even a contractor. Someone who's working in your home could go into your medicine cabinet, take all those pills and who knows where they go after that.”

There are also drop-off receptacles available year-round at more than 13,000 pharmacies, hospitals, police departments and businesses, the DEA said. The public can also use drop-boxes at Veterans Administration medical centers to dispose of controlled substance prescription medications, the release said.

You can find drop-off locations for the April 30 prescription drug take-back day and also those available year round at the DEA.gov/takeback.