Take back unwanted prescription drugs April 27 statewide

From 10 to 2 this Saturday (April 27), the Virginia State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) offers the public its sixth opportunity in three years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. The Virginia State Police are hosting sites at division headquarters across the state (including the Culpeper division) and local law enforcement departments are also offering sites (the closest to Rappahannock County are the Page County Memorial Hospital parking lot and the Madison Volunteer Fire Department, operated by the county sheriff’s office in those jurisdictions.

To locate a dropoff site, go here.

The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Last September, Americans turned in 244 tons of prescription drugs at over 5,200 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners. In its five previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in over 2 million pounds – more than a thousand tons – of pills.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — both pose potential safety and health hazards.

Four days after the first event, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the attorney general to accept them. The act also allows the attorney general to authorize long-term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. DEA is drafting regulations to implement the act.

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