Prescription drugs that end up in the wrong hands account for the majority of drugs abused in the United States. Prescription painkillers, or opiates, account for more deaths than all street drugs combined. In 2006 in the United States, 2.6 million people abused prescription drugs for the first time, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Keeping Prescription Drugs Out of the Wrong Hands
People obtain their prescription opiates to support an addiction in several ways. They purchase them online from black market Internet companies. They buy them on the street from dealers. They doctor shop and exaggerate an illness so they get more pills than they need. They visit pill mill doctors who willingly give them a prescription without an exam. They steal them from loved ones, friends, and neighbors.
It is for this last reason that the government and local community groups schedule Drug Take Back Days. These are events where anyone can take their unused, unwanted prescription drugs to have them disposed of safely. The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is scheduled for a Saturday in October every year, and it is organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration. According to its website, the DEA hosts this event in order to “provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.” To find a National Prescription Drug Take Back location near you, visit the DEA’s website.
In addition to the National Take Back Day, local municipalities and community groups often organize their own Drug Take Back events. These organizations set up locations at police stations, hospitals, pharmacies, and schools to allow people to drop off their prescription medications. Contact your local government to find a schedule for Drug Take Backs near you.
Curbing Opiate Addiction
The benefits to Drug Take Back events are significant. They result in fewer prescription medications sitting around in homes, in vehicles, and in purses, preventing drug-seeking individuals from stealing and using these drugs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids, which is more than enough to give every American adult their own bottle of pills. When these pills are unused, they become a danger to those who want to experiment with them or use them to get high.
Preventing opiate abuse can also help prevent addiction to other drugs like heroin, which addicts often transition to using when they are looking for a more intense high. Four in five new heroin users started out misusing prescription painkillers.
Help for Opiate Drug Addiction
Prescription drug abuse and heroin addiction are epidemics in the United States right now. As more communities take action with Drug Take Back events, not only will fewer prescription pills be available to drug seekers, but it will help create awareness for the issue of opiate addiction.
Opiate addiction is serious. We can help. If you or a loved one is being controlled by drug addiction, contact us today at (888) 907-8039 to learn about your treatment options.