This Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., designated sites across the Mid-Ohio Valley will be collecting unused prescription drugs as part of the United States Government Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. 

The DEA’s Take Back Day events offer an opportunity for citizens to help prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths in their community. According to a national survey on drug use and health, more than 6.2 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs in 2016. “The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet,” said the DEA website. 

Local collection sites include Buckeye Hills Regional Council on Pike Street in Marietta, area Sheriff’s offices and police departments, and the Fort Frye High School parking lot. Residents can find a full list of collection sites within the Mid-Ohio Valley on the National Take Back Initiative website.

For Buckeye Hills, specifically the regional council’s status as the designated Area Agency on Aging, this initiative aligns closely to a mission focused on increasing quality of life for residents in southeast Ohio. “The impact of prescription drug abuse is huge in southeast Ohio,” said Cathy Ash, Buckeye Hills Program Manager. “This abuse not only affects the abuser, but it affects the abusers’ families and extended support networks. Seniors in particular are at risk of abusing themselves or having caretakers or family steal their needed, prescribed medications to sell or abuse themselves. If individuals know that seniors are receiving opioids or narcotics, this puts the seniors at risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.”

Last spring, U.S. Americans turned in nearly 475 tons (949,046 pounds) or prescription drugs are more than 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and almost 4,700 sites of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 15 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in almost 10 million pounds – nearly 5,000 tons – of pills. 

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue, especially here in the Mid-Ohio Valley where the opioid crisis is a daily threat to our community. 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. In addition, it is no longer advised to dispose of unused medicines by flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash, as both one potential safety and health hazards.

Dropping off unused prescription drugs to designated collection sites is the best way to make sure they do not cause unwanted harm. For those unable to drop off their unused prescription drugs during Saturday’s event, they can be dropped off to one of the Controlled Substance Public Disposal locations in our region.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about National Take Back Day, visit the DEA’s Take Back website.