“Unwanted, expired, or unused prescription medications are often an unintended catalyst for addiction.”
~Chuck Rosenberg, Acting Administrator of the DEA
Remember the date and time – October 22, 2016 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM – National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.
The abuse of prescription medications such as opioids (painkillers), benzodiazepines (tranquilizers), and ADHD drugs (stimulants) is a huge problem in Colorado. How BAD is the problem?
Robert Valuck, who serves as coordinator for the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, says, “People don’t realize that medicine cabinets can be like leaving a loaded gun on the counter.”
- In Colorado, the death rate for opioid-related causes is double that of car crashes.
- Every day, 78 US residents die from prescription painkiller overdoses.
- From 2002 to 2014, Colorado’s drug overdose death rate increased by 68%.
- During that same timeframe, the death rate due to drug overdose has increased in every single county in Colorado, except for one – Mineral County.
- 12 counties in Colorado have drug overdose death rates that are among the highest in the country – more than 20 per 100,000 residents:
- Huerfano (at this level since 2003)
- Las Animas
- Rio Grande
To combat the problem, in 2010, the Drug Enforcement Agency developed an initiative to help people safely and conveniently get rid of their expired, excess, or unwanted prescription medications – NO QUESTIONS ASKED.
This October 22, over 4200 city, county, state, military, and tribal law enforcement agencies in Colorado and throughout the country will set up monitored locations where citizens can turn in their prescription drugs for safe that disposal.
What Makes National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in Colorado So Important?
One of the four main strategies that the Office of National Drug Control Policy recommends to reduce the abuse of prescription medications in America is to remove those drugs from home medicine cabinets.
After alcohol and marijuana, over-the-counter and prescription medications are the most-frequently-abused substances by Americans ages 14 years old and up. Studies have indicated that a significant percentage of individuals misusing prescriptions obtained the medication from a friend or relative, not some stereotypical drug dealer.
It is not sufficient to just throw old medications into the trash or flush them down the toilet. Neither option is a good idea:
- Throwing prescription drugs away stills allow for the possibility of theft, because abusers can read through your trash.
- Both options are environmentally unwise, because the drugs can contaminate groundwater or other parts of the ecosystem.
How Successful Is Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in Colorado?
On the last take-back day, April 30, 2016, nearly 900,000 pounds of excess prescription drugs were turned in and removed from homes – the highest total EVER. In Colorado, 24,170 pounds were collected.
You can find a list of Colorado prescription drug take-back sites by clicking here.