Once again, police departments and law enforcement agencies across Rhode Island will participate in the very popular Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Mayor Scott Avedisian who will participate with state officials in a news conference today at 1 p.m. at the Warwick Police Station is applauding the effort.
“Tomorrow’s press conference is so needed right now,” Avedisian said in an email.
With the skyrocketing number of overdose deaths in just the last four months, it is imperative that we get as many prescription drugs out of circulation. Our police department has been serving as a drop off location and we are seeing high numbers of drugs being turned in. Having worked with Dr. Michael Fine on many issues, I think outreach efforts and greatly needed at this time.
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.
“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 Peter 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’s police chief, added, “The drug tack-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.”
The Warwick Police Department, located at 99 Veterans Memorial Drive, is among the drop-off sites. The West Warwick Police Department will be accepting prescription drugs at its 1162 Main St. headquarters and at the West Warwick Youth Center, located at 40 Factory St.
The Cranston Police Department will have a drop-off site in the lobby of its 5 Garfield Ave. headquarters, while Johnston Police will host a drop-off site at the Johnston Senior Center at 1291 Hartford Ave.
The North Providence Police Department, located at 1967 Mineral Spring Ave., will also be participating. There are multiple sites in Providence, including the Walgreens parking lot at 533 Elmwood Ave. and the Botanical Garden at Roger Williams Park, located at 1000 Elmwood Ave.
A full list of participating police departments can be found at 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.)
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.