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Drug Take Back Day Especially Needed During COVID

Updated: Oct 24, 2020

Today is Drug Take Back Day--a national campaign designed to urge Americans to responsibly dispose of their unused prescription drugs in order to prevent prescription drug abuse.

Prescription drug abuse is at the heart of the opioid crisis. In fact, many people who are addicted to opioids were once prescribed them, or have a family member who was prescribed them. By proactively taking the drugs out of the household, this will remove any future temptation of misusing these drugs if there are any leftover. This also prevents people who have not prescribed these drugs from getting ahold of them.

Victor McKenzie, Jr., Executive Director of SAARA noted. "SAARA has long supported projects like “Lonely Drop‐Box,” a call for every pharmacy to provide its customers with point-of-sale medication disposal, which would dramatically increase the number of drop‐boxes across the commonwealth."

Lonely Drop-Box is an initiative that helps direct people to drug collection drop-boxes and advocates for additional resources to get unused drugs out of homes. To participate in Drug Take-Back Day visit a local drop-box site and safely dispose of your unused or expired prescription drugs.

Across the nation, the opioid crisis has devastated many communities due to doctors over-prescribing these addictive drugs. In a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, a manufacturer of opioids, the courts have uncovered that large pharmaceutical companies actually incentivized doctors to prescribe opioids more frequently than they should have.

Prescription drug abuse and opioid misuse have also been escalated by COVID19. In a recent poll by DrugAbuse.com, researchers found that "more than half of Virginians surveyed worried about increased alcohol and substance abuse in their communities as a result of COVID-19 and its economic fallout."

In an interview, The Free Lance-Star spoke with Dr. Jake O'Shea, the Chief Medical Officer of HCA Virginia. He explained, "Now, more than ever, it’s critically important to get unused pain medications out of homes and to educate the community about the serious threat of opioid misuse and abuse."

Find a collection site near you here.

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