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National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is April 30th

In an effort to curb the ever-growing prescription drug addiction problem in the United States, the US Drug Enforcement Administration has developed the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative. The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative involves volunteer locations, such as hospitals, police stations and local government offices, providing a one day collection service for unwanted, unused and expired prescription and over the counter medications.

This year the drop off date for disposing of your unused or expired medication is April 30, 2011. Communities around the country are participating with “no questions asked” collection of over the counter and prescription drugs.

According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration, over seven million Americans had a history of abusing prescription or over the counter medications in 2009. Studies have shown that each day, 2,500 teens experiment with prescription drug use, and the vast majority are not buying these drugs off the street. Instead, they are taking them from their family and friend’s medicine cabinets, often a pill at a time so the act goes unnoticed.

Dumping medication down the drain or tossing it in garbage bags that end up in landfills is a serious ecological problem. Water supplies and soil become polluted with the chemicals that make up the drugs, posing a hazard to humans, plants and animals alike. The affects of improperly dumping medications may not be fully realized for many years to come, but no positive outcome is likely.

The first National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day occurred on September 25, 2010. Over 3,000 drop off locations were strategically placed around the United States. Citizens dropped off an overwhelming 121 tons of pills in one day. The success of this first initiated has encouraged more communities to participate, and the 2011 initiative will likely double the amount collected.

Most community drop off sites, which include law enforcement offices, have added a “no questions asked” policy to the drop off day. This means, in simple terms, that you can drop off drugs regardless of the name on the prescription. Some communities have extended this to allow for the disposal of illegal drugs without fear of prosecution. The hope of these communities is to keep children and teens from gaining access to the substances, which harm so many American teens each year.

The US Drug Enforcement Administration is maintaining a searchable database of participating drop off locations for the 2011 National Take Back Day. This website enables participants to enter a zip code and returns a list of nearby collection sites based on distance. To find a collection site near you, visit the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative website.

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