Wednesday, April 30, 2014

8th DEA Drug Take-Back Day Nearly 1 ton of drugs turned in to UNITE dropboxes

Nearly 1 ton of outdated or unwanted medication was collected from 42 medication dropbox locations across southern and eastern Kentucky during the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s eighth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this past weekend.

The 1,933.2 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter drugs filled 114 cartons.

This total does not include any medications brought to other one-time drop-off sites, such as the region’s seven Kentucky State Police posts, during the four-hour event.

Kentucky had the third highest rate of overdose deaths in 2010 (23.6 per 100,000 people), noted Michael Botticelli, acting director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), speaking to participants at last week’s National Rx Drug Abuse Summit in Atlanta. Ensuring the proper disposal of medication is one of the top four focus areas of the current administration.

Every day in the United States 50 people die from an overdose of prescription drugs, according to an October 2013 report, Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic, published by the Trust For America’s Health. Kentucky lost 1,031 lives in 2012 due to drug overdoses.

Another benefit of the drop-box program is protecting the environment.

For years, the generally accepted method for disposing of old or left over medications was to flush them down the toilet. This practice, however, has been strongly discouraged because of concerns about potential health and environmental effects of antibiotics, hormones, painkillers, depressants and stimulants making their way into our water system and soil.

Operation UNITE has helped establish the permanent medication dropbox sites starting in October 2012. With this weekend’s collection, UNITE has now collected 6,547.9 pounds of medications.