For the second time this year, police departments across Arizona participated in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. The event allowed people to safely dispose of their medications, rather than hold on to the drugs that may potentially go to feed someone’s addiction.
In just one city, Paradise Valley, over 450 pounds of prescriptions were collected in one day. This amount was 2 ½ times the first amount of pills that was collected by the Paradise Valley Police Department when they performed their first take-back event back in April. Some prescriptions that were disposed of were dangerously expired – by as much as 40 years.
Throughout the country more and more police departments, pharmacies, and healthcare facilities are making themselves available to take back unused prescriptions so as to lessen the potential of other addicts getting a hold of dangerous substances. Research shows that most people who are addicted to narcotic painkillers obtain their drugs from a friend or a relative who has a valid prescription for the drugs.
Paradise Valley and other Phoenix-area towns have seen an increase in prescription drug abuse, mainly among teenagers. Police have reported several incidents of teenagers abusing prescription painkillers at parties. Upon questioning it was apparent that most of these drugs were being obtained from family members’ medicine cabinets.
As the prescription painkiller epidemic sweeps across our country, it is vital that more police departments and other healthcare providers follow in the footsteps of the Paradise Valley Police Department. Holding take-back events more than once a year allows for more people to hear about the opportunity to dispose of unwanted/unused medication. In 2010 the DEA made a concentrated effort to get more states to hold take-back events, so far more than 4.1 million pounds of prescription painkillers have been safely disposed of throughout the country.
In addition to publicized events, the Paradise Valley Police Department is making their drop-off container available anytime someone needs to dispose of unwanted/unused prescriptions. Once the police have the drugs they will safely dispose of them. Thankfully, there are more of these year-round collection sites popping up throughout Arizona and across the country.