DEA-sponsored event offers sites to safely dispose of unused meds
FRIDAY, Oct. 21, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Have you ever gotten a prescription for pills that you didn't finish? Those unused medications can pose a public health risk if they're not disposed of properly.
The good news is that you can safely get rid of unused drugs -- no questions asked -- this weekend during the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency's (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time on Saturday, Oct. 22, nearly 4,000 local law enforcement agencies and community organizations will let people dispose of unused, unwanted prescription medications at 4,700 collection sites.
The service is free.
To find a collection site in your area, call 1-800-882-9539. You can also visit www.dea.gov, then click on the "Got Drugs?" icon in the upper right corner. You'll be directed to a database where you can input your location.
Keep in mind that the program only accepts pills and other solid medications such as patches. Liquids and needles won't be accepted.
The 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that 6.4 million people in the United States over the age of 12, or more than 2 percent of the population, abuse prescription drugs. Overdoses have surpassed car accidents as the top cause of deaths due to injury in the United States, according to the DEA.
Many prescription drug abusers say they get drugs from family, friends and the home medicine cabinet, the DEA said.
At last year's Take Back event, law enforcement agencies and community groups collected about 447 tons of unwanted prescription drugs.
For more about prescription drug abuse, visit the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.