Tomorrow marks one of the most important days in the fight to end prescription drug abuse in the U.S.- National Drug Take Back Day.
On October 22nd facilities across the country will participate in National Drug Take Back Day by providing a safe, legal way to dispose of unused prescription drug medication. Rather it is medication left over from an old prescription or pills acquired illicitly, these sites will accept all without question.
To find a site near you, visit the DEA’s National Take Back Initiative Collection Site Search page.
It is important that we all participate in national events such as this to take a stand against prescription drug abuse. Each day nearly 130 lives are lost due to overdose, with a majority of those caused by prescription drugs or heroin. Most people with prescription drug abuse disorders admit to obtaining the pills from the homes of family members or friends.
Teens and young adults are especially susceptible to prescription drug abuse. Under the misguided belief that a drug is safer if it is prescribed by a doctor- even if that prescription doesn’t belong to you- young people experiment with prescription opioids like morphine, OxyContin, and other powerful drugs to get high. As the body builds a tolerance for these medications, the effects are lessened, requiring more pills and causing addiction to form. Prescription drug abuse can also be a gateway to abuse of illicit drugs such as heroin, which in itself began as a medication.
Physical dependence and addiction can also form as a result of medical necessity. Some people who develop prescription drug abuse disorders report that the problem began after being prescribed powerful painkillers following an injury or illness. As stated before, tolerance leads to misuse which can become abuse and addiction if not addressed properly. The issue of overprescribing also plays a part in the current prescription drug abuse epidemic.
Go through your own medicine cabinets and spread the word so that your family members and friends do the same. Collect any old prescription medications and find your closest collection site for disposal- they are often police stations and pharmacies which can provide additional information about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
If you or someone you know is struggling with misuse or abuse of prescription medication, don’t hesitate to reach out for help- it’s always available.