By T. Scott Boatright
Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office personnel will be on hand from 10 – 2 p.m. Saturday at Super 1 Foods in Ruston to take part in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration 20th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday.
The biannual event held is an effort to rid homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.
According to the DEA, this initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in homes are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses from these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
“The DEA’s Take Back Day is a great reminder to get rid of unneeded and expired prescriptions, not only on April 24, but also on any day of the year. Prescription drugs often end up in the wrong hands, fueling an epidemic of opioid deaths and overdoses. Montanans can help protect their families, friends and community by participating in the DEA Take Back event to safely dispose of unused prescription medications,” Acting U.S. Attorney Johnson said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that opioid overdose deaths have increased during the coronavirus pandemic. The CDC issued an alert in December indicating a significant increase in overdose deaths from August 2019 through Aug. 1, 2020, including concerning trends during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the U.S. 85,500 people died of an overdose from August 2019 to August 2020. This is the largest number of drug overdoses on record in the country within a one-year period and a 27 percent increase in deaths year over year. While many of these deaths are attributed to synthetic opioids (fentanyl), and while the CDC is seeing a decline in deaths attributed to prescription opioids, there are still an alarming number of overdose deaths involving prescription opioids.
During the last Take Back Day held on Oct. 24, 2020, DEA collected a record amount of drugs since the program began in 2010. With a total of 4,153 law enforcement participants at 4,587 collection sites, the event brough in a total weight of 985,392 pounds, or 492.7 tons, of drugs. This brings the total weight collected to 13.68 million pounds, or more than 6,842 tons, of prescription drugs collected in the history of the program. Collection results may include materials other than prescription drugs.
For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the April 24 Take Back Day event, go to http://www.DEATakeBack.com.