Once again, police departments and law enforcement agencies across Rhode Island will participate in the very popular Prescription Drug Take Back Day this Saturday, April 26th, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Created by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Prescription Drug Take Back Day gives the public the opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. Since the program began in 2010, Americans have turned in 3.4 million pounds - more than 1,700 tons - of pills.
A full list of participating police departments is attached and also can be found at www.riag.ri.gov www.riag.ri.gov and www.dea.gov. In addition, many police departments accept discarded prescription medication year-round; a list can also be found at www.riag.ri.gov or by calling your local police department to see if they offer this service. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. (The locations cannot accept liquids, needles or sharps; only pills or patches.)
"The National DEA-initiated Prescription Drug Take Back Day has been successful in removing tons of unwanted and unneeded medications from people's homes, including highly addictive opioids," said Special Agent in Charge John J. Arvanitis. "Getting these potentially deadly unwanted prescription drugs collected and disposed of properly would not be possible without the continued commitment and dedication of our state and local law enforcement partners."
"Prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic in this country and can be a gateway to using more dangerous and illicit drugs, like heroin, to get a greater high. We need to get prescription drugs out of our homes before they can be abused and before they lead to more deadly drugs," said Attorney General Kilmartin. "The reaction from the public to the Prescription Drug Take Back Days has been terrific. More and more, people understand the dangers of having unwanted, unused and expired medications in their homes. The demand to rid homes of these prescription pills has been so successful that many police departments now offer the free service year-round."
Colonel Stephen M. McCartney, Warwick Police Chief added, "The drug take-back program provides an excellent opportunity for each family to rid themselves of unwanted prescription medications and thereby reduce the potential incidence of tragic accidents that can happen when younger family members come into contact with these medicines. The time and effort to drive to your participating police agency is well worth it, particularly if it will save the life of your loved ones."
Elwood Johnson, Chief of the Richmond Police Department and president of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs' Association added, "The Rhode Island Police Chiefs' Association is proud to join our federal, state, and local partners by participating in this event because we recognize that it has the potential to save lives and decrease the likelihood of harmful incidents involving prescription medications. Many of Rhode Island's municipal police departments have installed secure drug collection boxes in their lobbies to afford the public with a convenient means of disposing of expired, unwanted and unused meds at any time of day or night.
"We commend the US Drug Enforcement Administration for pioneering this concept in 2010, which has been very successful in both the amounts collected, and with raising public awareness as to the inherent dangers of inadvertently stockpiling such prescriptions in residential homes. It is worthy to note that our police departments have observed opioid prescriptions among the many meds turned in at our facilities, at a time when Rhode Island and other states are facing an epidemic of opioid overdose deaths. This program provides law enforcement with an opportunity to proactively remove those types of addictive drugs from the community before they have the potential to do further harm."
"The prescription take back initiative is vitally important in ensuring prescription drugs do not end up in the hands of those whom they were not intended. This initiative is even more critical this year due to the exponential and unprecedented increase of drug overdose deaths here in Rhode Island. Please be responsible and take a brief moment to rid your medicine cabinet of unused medications at the various collection locations across the State including our State Police barracks," said Colonel Steven G. O'Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police.
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 environmental, safety and health hazards.
DEA is in the process of approving new regulations that implement the Safe and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an "ultimate user" (that is, a patient or their family member or pet owner) of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long-term care facilities to dispose of their residents' controlled substances in certain instances.