Who among us, from time to time, doesn’t have at least one or two vials in our medicine cabinets, closets and drawers with expired, unwanted or unused prescription medication? In years past, the standard procedure for dealing with these has been to flush them or throw them in the trash. Problem is, trace amounts of these medications are now showing up in our water supplies and studies are ongoing in an effort to determine what effect these trace amounts may be having on all of us. Further, according to a 2009 study, more than seven million Americans abuse prescription medications, including teens looking for a way to get high. The source of many of these drugs is the family medicine cabinet.
Providing for safe disposal of prescription drugs
In response to both the environmental and human aspects of the problem, the Safe and Secure Drug Disposal Act of 2010 was signed into law on October 12,
2010. This Act amended the federal, Controlled Substances Act and allows the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA; an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice) to develop a process that provides for the safe disposal of prescription drugs. A key ingredient of that process are drug take back days. These events, overseen by the DEA in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies, are scheduled every six (6) months around the country. The first two such events took place in 2010 and involved more than 4,000 state and local law enforcement agencies. These two events resulted in 309 tons of pills being collected.
Finding drug collection sites near you
The next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is scheduled for October 29, 2011. For more information contact you local law enforcement agency and visit the DEA Drug Take Back website. The website contains a useful link for finding collection sites near you.