Prescription Drug Take-Back Day: October 29

Altoona & Hollidaysburg, PA – On October 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your medications for disposal to the Pennsylvania State Police Barracks (1510 N. Juniata St., Hollidaysburg) or to Mainline Medical Associates (Station Medical Center, 1414 9th Avenue, Altoona). The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

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.

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.

Four days after the first Take-Back event in September 2010, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” 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. DEA has begun drafting regulations to implement the Act, a process that can take as long as 24 months. Until new regulations are in place, the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.

Locally this initiative is being organized and supported by the Pharmacy Roundtable of Operation Our Town and the Pennsylvania State Police. Blair Countians for Drug Free Communities also supports and applauds their coordination of this effort. We encourage Blair County citizens to take advantage of this community event to remove unused and expired prescription drugs from their homes.