Americans are becoming more aware of prescription drug abuse but overdoses are killing more people than ever before. A recent study found that more than half of those who are prescribed an opioid pain medication never finish the prescription.
Jean Hammack is the Public Education Coordinator and a Registered Nurse for the Nebraska Regional Poison Center and says getting those medications out of the house is the reason for National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday. She says, “There may be as much as one-third of medications that may be just sitting around. When it sits around it is not effective. There is also that opportunity for someone to take it, whether it is intentional or for misuse. As well, if it is sitting out or sometimes put in a purse and even though they are planning to discard it, a little one can come along and ingest it.”
National Drug Take-Back Day is an opportunity for all Nebraskans to fight the prescription drug epidemic. Hammack says all you have to do is go through cabinets and drawers and collect those unwanted medications and take them to a drop off location. This is also a chance to get rid of old over-the-counter drugs as well. Many communities throughout the state are hosting sites from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Those wanting to know the nearest drop off location can call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 and registered nurses and pharmacists will be glad to assist you.
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s first National Drug Take-Back Day was in 2010 and since then 6.3 million pounds of medications have been collected for safe disposal.