Harrisburg, PA (STL.News) Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf today encouraged Pennsylvanians to gather unused or unwanted prescription drugs to be returned to one of the state’s 877 drug take-back box locations on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Saturday, October 26. New this year, the national Drug Enforcement Agency announced it will also allow for vaping cartridges and electronic, or “e-cigarettes,” to be collected at any of its locations during tomorrow’s event.
During the event, individuals may drop off unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications at any of the locations in the state’s 67 counties. The service is free and anonymous. Many drop-off locations are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week
“Part of our continued fight to battle the opioid crisis is encouraging Pennsylvanians to drop off unwanted and unused prescription drugs at one of the hundreds of secure drop-off locations in the state,” Gov. Wolf said. “Keeping prescription medications out of the hands of those they were not intended for is one more way to save lives and prevent people from suffering from substance use disorder.
Since the inception of Pennsylvania’s drug take back program in 2014, Pennsylvania has collected and destroyed 626,853 pounds of unwanted or unused medications. The Pennsylvania State Police has prescription drug take-back boxes at 65 stations that are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
“The prescription drug take-back program is a critical, preventive way for all Pennsylvanians to proactively keep our communities and loved ones safe,” said Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Jen Smith. “By visiting a DEA sponsored location this Saturday or anytime during the year throughout the commonwealth, we are safely removing medication and now e-cigarettes and vaping cartridges from the hands and mouths of unintended individuals. With the opioid crisis bringing substance use disorder out of the shadows, we can all take these preventive steps to protect our loved ones before falling victim to the disease of addiction.
“National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is an excellent opportunity to get rid of unused prescription drugs safely and securely,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Prescription drug misuse and abuse plays a large role in the opioid crisis, but you can help change that. In Pennsylvania there are thousands of locations where unused prescription drugs can be dropped off each and every day, with no questions asked.
The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans misused 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
“Take Back Day is a chance for Pennsylvanians to help prevent drug overdose deaths,” Gov. Wolf said. “I encourage everyone to consider participating.”