On Saturday, October 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Office of Attorney General, in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Rhode Island State Police, the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH), and the Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association will give Rhode Islanders an opportunity to prevent pill prescription drug abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.
Bring your medications for disposal to any of the 38 locations statewide (see list attached for all locations). The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
“Prescription drug abuse is quickly becoming a major epidemic in Rhode Island and across the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more Rhode Islanders die from accidental prescription drug overdose than any other cause of death. And, the number of individuals - especially teenagers - who abuse prescription medication is growing,” said Attorney General Kilmartin. “One way we can combat this growing epidemic is to provide residents with a safe way to discard outdated and unused prescription medications.”
Last April, Americans turned in 376,593 pounds - 188 tons - of prescription drugs at nearly 5,400 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,000 state and local law enforcement partners. Rhode Islanders turned in more than 1,700 pounds of prescription drugs at 30 locations statewide. Colonel Steven G. O'Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police, said "Removing dangerous medication from homes is another way to safeguard our children and aging population." This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards. “The Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals is proud to be a part of this important initiative,” says Craig Stenning, Director of BHDDH. “According to The Partnership at Drugfree.Org, every day, 2,500 teenagers use prescription drugs to get high for the first time. As a strong advocate and resource for people recovering from substance abuse issues, our organization understands that it is crucial to take every opportunity to eliminate access to these medications.”
For more information about the dangers of prescription drug abuse, and a list of resources to get help, please visit www.riag.ri.gov.