News release: National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to help get opioids off the streets

News Release
April 27, 2018

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National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to help get opioids off the streets

For many people, knowing what to do with old prescription drugs is a problem, and as a result, prescription opioids are finding their way into the wrong hands. Law enforcement and other organizations across Minnesota will offer drop-off sites for unwanted, unused or expired prescription medications from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday – National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. For local drop-off sites and activities, visit National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

In addition to disposal of unwanted prescriptions, Take Back Day also seeks to raise awareness of both the problem of prescription drug abuse and how we as individuals can do our part by getting rid of old drugs safely.

“Lately we’ve all heard a lot about the opioid epidemic, but for many people, it’s easy to think it’s not my problem,” says Acting Commissioner Chuck Johnson of the Minnesota Department of Human Services. “The opioid epidemic is affecting all of us, and we all have a role to play putting an end to the problem.”

Unused or expired prescription medications are a public safety issue, leading to potential accidental poisoning, misuse and overdose. Proper disposal of unused drugs saves lives and protects the environment. Last October, National Take Back collected nationally 456 tons of unwanted prescriptions.

“Prescription opioids are powerful drugs that can have tragic consequences if misused,” says Commissioner Jan Malcolm of the Minnesota Department of Health. “That’s why we work so hard to make sure people understand the importance of appropriate use, storage and disposal. Following these best practices can save lives.”

In Minnesota last year, 395 people died of opioids, of which 194 were from prescription opioids. Nationally, according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.4 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.

Disposing of drugs can be a problem if not handled properly. A good option is to obtain a mail back envelope from your local pharmacy, which ensures the contents will be managed by incineration. Many pharmacies and local police departments serve as drop-off sites year-round. Find out more at National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

-MDH-


Media inquiries:

Scott Smith
MDH Communications
651-201-5806
scott.smith@state.mn.us

Sarah Berg
DHS Communications
651-431-4901
sarah.berg@state.mn.us
www.mn.gov/dhs