May 11, 2018

Results from the April 2018 Prescription Drug-Take Back Day

On Saturday, April 28, Montgomery County participated in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) 15th Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

Across the country, 4,683 law enforcement agencies participated, providing 5,842 collection sites and receiving 949,046 pounds of turned-in prescription drugs. In Montgomery County, the law enforcement agencies participating included: Montgomery County Police, Maryland State Police, Rockville City Police, Gaithersburg Police, Takoma Park Police, Chevy Chase Village Police and the Sheriff’s Office.

From 15 collection sites within Montgomery County, 48 bags weighing 1,099 pounds were received. In addition, the City of Rockville held a more-than-one day turn-in event which collected 19 bags weighing 489 pounds.

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days address a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.4 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. With the current prevalence of opioid overdoses, safely deposing of opioid drugs can play a major role in helping to curb their life-threatening abuse.

Participating in Drug Take-Back days provides an opportunity to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths. Until the next Prescription Drug Take-Back Day scheduled for Saturday, October 27 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., follow these important drug-disposal tips. Drugs should not be thrown in the trash unless specific safety precautions for safe disposal are followed. The County’s Division of Solid Waste Services offers these suggestions:
  1. Place unwanted or expired medication into a plastic bag (with a seal) or other empty containers with a lid to prevent liquid medications from leaking out. 
  2. Mix with kitty litter, coffee grounds or sawdust. (Liquid medications can be solidified using kitty litter or sawdust.) 
  3. Seal the bag and/or container. 
  4. Crush pills or tablets. 
  5. Put the container and/or bag containing the medication into your regular household trash. 
  6. Remove the label with the patient’s name from the original medicine vial or bottle. 
  7. Place the empty plastic vial or bottle into your blue County recycling bin. Empty aerosol inhalers can also be recycled in recycling bins.

1 comment:

  1. I strongly applaud any efforts to get drugs safely out of the medicine cabinet. However, the "drugs" that are collected at take-back facilities include everything from Flintstone vitamins to cough syrup. According to studies by Egan (http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00952990.2016.1240801), "controlled medications disposed were estimated to account for 0.3% of those dispensed. Conclusion: Controlled medications collected by take-back events and permanent drug donation boxes constituted a miniscule proportion of the numbers dispensed". Putting drugs in kitty litter or sawdust doesn't prevent them from being removed and abused, and further contributes to the contamination of our water supplies when they leach into landfills. A better alternative is to dispose of the medicine cabinet leftover drugs at the site-of-use using products that permanently render them non-retrievable and prevent them from contaminating landfills and water supplies.

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