October 28th, 2017, is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Everyone in the United States with unused or unwanted medication can have a hand in ensuring their drugs don’t end up in the wrong hands. Every year, several days are set aside as times when Americans can safely dispose of their prescription drugs. Since the program’s beginning, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has collected more than 8,000 pounds of pharmaceuticals. While it’s impossible to accurately estimate the impact of safe-disposal initiatives regarding lives saved, it’s probably fair to say that it’s not a small number.
There is a significant amount of evidence that many people begin walking the path of opioid use disorder by using another person’s prescription painkillers. Despite the epidemic devastating families across the country, more than half of adults who misused opioids in 2015 did not have a prescription, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). What’s more, 40.8% obtained prescription opioids for free from friends or relatives for their most recent episode of misuse.
In most cases, opioid diversion occurs among average Americans, not people with a history of addiction or opioid use disorder. A person has pills that a friend in pain could use, why not give them away and save your friend the expense and hassle of going to a doctor? The best reasons include the risk of overdose and the potential for addiction.
Doing Your Part to Prevent Misuse
Every year, hundreds of millions of prescription opioids leave pharmacies and move into people’s medicine cabinets. Opiates kill more people than firearms, yet Americans are less likely to lock up pills than guns. People can no longer claim that they didn’t know the dangers associated with these types of drugs, with over 100-people succumbing to overdose every day. The onus to protect friends and family members falls on everyone.
Please keep in mind that even if you don’t have a history of addiction, are not in recovery yourself or know someone who has battled opioid use disorder—you can still help prevent addiction and overdose. We can all play a role in stemming the tide of this terrible epidemic. Every single pill that is disposed of safely has a rippling effect, being one less pill that could initiate opioid misuse and disorder.
The DEA has several resources you can turn to for information about disposal sites in your area. If you have unused or unwanted medication, please do your part to dispose of them properly. If you are in recovery and suffered an injury in the past year, but no longer require pain medicine, please protect your recovery by taking them to a drop site.
At Hope by The Sea, we hope that as many people as possible utilize the DEA drop sites this weekend. If you or a loved one is addicted to prescription painkillers or opioids of any kind, please contact us today. Addiction recovery is possible, and we can help you learn how to live a life free from drugs and alcohol.