Regional officials are encouraging area residents to dispose of unused or expired medication on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day this Saturday, September 27. The nationwide event, coordinated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), is being promoted locally by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), its public safety and water utility partners, and the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin. Drug Take Back Day will run from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at many local law enforcement offices and other locations across the region. To find a location near you, click here.
The DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day provides a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of medication, while educating the public and preventing abuse of prescription medications. Take-Back Day helps keep communities safe and prevents medicines from entering our streams and rivers, which protects our waterways and our drinking water sources.
“Metropolitan Washington has a number of ‘Take Back’ locations,” said DC Water’s Nicole Condon, who serves as Chairwoman of the COG Community Engagement Campaign for the region’s water supply and wastewater utilities. “If you can't make it to a ‘Take Back’ site, please don’t flush medications, use proper disposal options. We applaud this effort by the region’s law enforcement agencies and the DEA. For those of us in the water community, it is an opportunity to keep potential contaminants out of our region’s water. We all have a role in keeping our communities and our water safe.”
“Unused and expired medications are a public safety and health concern. We encourage area residents to take advantage of this program and prevent these medications from being abused, stolen, or accidentally ingested,” said U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine, who serves as Chairman of the COG Police Chiefs Committee. While the number of Americans who currently abuse prescription drugs dropped in 2013 to 6.5 million from 6.8 million in 2012, that is still more than double the number of those using heroin, cocaine, and hallucinogens like LSD and Ecstasy combined, according to a DEA press release that cited the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.