National Drug Take-Back Day: fighting the opioid crisis, drug addiction, and overdoses

by Gerald Bohulano, ABS-CBN News

SCOTTSDALE, AZ — More than 48,000 Americans died from opioid-related overdoses last year, according to a recent report from the surgeon general.

6.2 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs according to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The study shows that most of abused prescription drugs were taken from family friends, often from the home’s medicine cabinet.

October 27th is the drug enforcement agency’s Drug Take-Back Day, a national event where Americans can safely dispose of their unused drugs to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths.

“The importance of disposing more specifically opiates and even other controlled mediations is to keep it away from others. If we don’t do that, then we worry about maybe family members getting into it. Maybe children getting into it. Maybe even pets,” says MD Paul Valbuena, MD.

Valbuena is a double-board certified psychiatrist who specializes in treating patients with opiate use disorders. He encourages the public to take advantage of local drug disposal sites.

“There is usually a place at local pharmacies where you can drop off medications and there is a whole hazardous waste disposal that people can use in avail of.”

For example, Walgreens has more than 1,000 safe medication disposal kiosks throughout the U.S., where the public can turn in prescription and over-the-counter drugs safely.

The kiosks are monitored by surveillance and security. Walgreens also works with a U.S. D.E.A.-authorized vendor to collect and safely dispose of unused medications.

“I think the keeping medications around especially in the home and if you have to think about who lives at home. Do you have elderly parents? Do you have cousins? Do you have little children? I think’s that a huge huge safety risk that’s being neglected a lot if they’re not being educated about the importance of this.”

Last year’s National Drug Take-Back Day collected more than 900,000 pounds of drugs. To find a safe collection site near you, visit takebackday.dea.gov.

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