On October 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Mercy Hospital Pharmacy and the Bourbon County Sheriff Department with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your medications for disposal to the parking lot of Mercy Convenient Care at 1624 S. National. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
According to a news release on the US Drug Enforcement Administration website, “The United States DEA’s Sixth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 27 collected 50 percent more pills than the previous one, demonstrating the American public’s continued appreciation and need for the opportunity to discard unwanted, unused and expired prescription drugs from medicine cabinets, bedside tables, and kitchen drawers.”
The release states, “742,497 pounds (371 tons) of prescription medications were collected from members of the public at more than 5,829 locations manned by 4,312 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies that partnered with DEA on the event. When added to the collections from DEA’s previous five Take-Back events, more than 2.8 million pounds (1,409 tons) of prescription medications have been removed from circulation.”
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.
Four days after the first event, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. DEA is drafting regulations to implement the Act. Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like Bourbon County Sheriff’s Department and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.