Prevent Opioid Abuse: Turn in Unused Medications
by SreyRam Kuy, MD, MHS, FACS and Addie Imseis, RN, BSN
Tackling the opioid epidemic seems daunting. On an average day in the US, 3,900 people initiate nonmedical use of prescription opioids while 580 people initiate heroin use. Opioid abuse is a concern as 80% of heroin users reported starting out misusing prescription opioids. Each day, more than 40 Americans die each day from opioid overdoses.
Can one person make a difference? What can an individual do? This may be the only easy answer in the myriad of complexities involved in finding a solution to the opioid crisis.
The answer is simple: Turn in any unused prescription medication.
On Saturday, October 22, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will offer the opportunity for the public to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous. For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs on the October 22 Take Back Day, visit to the DEA Diversion website.
Did you know that over 70% of people who abuse opioid prescriptions for the first time get those pills from a friend or family member? By turning in unused prescription medication on the DEA's National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, you remove the chance that those pills will be misused. Take Back Day is this Saturday, October 22, 2016, from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm. There are thousands of acceptance locations across the United States. Simply enter your zip code to find the nearest site.
Last April, Americans turned in over 893,000 pounds of prescription drugs at more than 5,000 sites across the country. Overall, from all its previous Take Back events, more than 6.4 million pounds of pills have been disposed.
This is a critical public health issue. Unused prescriptions in home cabinets are at risk for misuse and abuse. Take action today. Join Americans across the country in participating in Take Back Day this Saturday, October 22, 2016.
About the Authors:
SreyRam Kuy, MD, MHS, FACS
Chief Medical Officer, Medicaid, Louisiana Department of Health
Addie Imseis, RN, BSN
Clinical Policy Nurse, Medicaid, Louisiana Department of Health