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dispense-as-writtenThe 2017 National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday, April 29 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. The day was established in 2010 by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to help reduce prescription drug risks and promote safety.

According to the DEA, most prescription drug abusers report that they get their drugs from friends and family. Cleaning out old prescription drugs around the home or workplace reduces accidents, thefts, misuse and abuse of the drugs. Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with 52,404 lethal drug overdoses in 2015.  Opioid painkillers were involved in 33,091 overdoses, which come to 90 deaths per day. Eight out of 10 new heroin users began by abusing opioids and moved to heroin after they could no longer obtain the prescription drugs, according to a DEA report.

In the past decade, improper disposal of fentanyl patches has caused 24 hospitalizations of children under 2 years old. Of those hospitalizations, 12 were deadly. Participate in the take-back day and you could save a life. The DEA reported that the 2016 National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day was a record-breaking success, resulting in the collection of 447 tons of unwanted medicines across all 50 states. Sedgwick encouraged participation last year and we are again encouraging our colleagues and clients to participate and to spread the words of encouragement for others. In addition, most local police stations now have disposal bins for medications. Pharmacies such as Walgreens have added disposal centers and others have mail-away kits for purchase. Everyone must be accountable for the medications they are prescribed.

On April 29, various local sites will be set up to collect unused, unwanted or expired medications. The collection facilities have the ability to dispose of the drugs in a manner that is safe and environmentally sound.

We encourage you to help increase awareness of this program and take the opportunity to clean up your own medicine cabinet.

To find a collection site near you, use the search tool on the DEA website. You can also contact the DEA’s call center at 800.882.9539 or your local law enforcement agency.

Andrew Newhouse, Sedgwick pharmacist

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