by Jessica Michaud
S.C. College of Pharmacy, MUSC Campus
The Drug Enforcement Agency scheduled its fifth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day for Sept. 29.
As the number of prescriptions dispensed yearly continues to rise, so does the amount of unused and expired medications, including controlled substances. These excess medications can lead to misuse or abuse, potentially resulting in overdose or death.
While the agency establishes a uniform system for collecting unused drugs, they will continue to host periodic take-back days. In the first four Take-Back Days, sites across the United States collected 1.5 million pounds or 747 tons of unwanted medications. One of the missions of the agency is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States and bring to the criminal and civil justice system those organizations involved in the distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the U.S.
These Prescription Drug Take-Back Days were created in an effort to decrease the misuse or abuse of prescription drugs by reducing the amount of expired or unused medications available to the general public. This service is free and completely anonymous, with a "no questions asked" policy. Consumers can either blackout personal information on prescription bottles or empty the bottles into the provided containers. Tablets, capsules, and other solid dosage forms will be accepted (no liquids).
Two sites currently are hosting the Take-Back Day in September, the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, located at 3505 Pinehaven Drive in North Charleston, and Joint Base Charleston (which requires access to the base).
More information on the collection sites can be found at http://www.justice.gov/dea/index.shtml.