Governor Steve Beshear announced today that Kentucky now has 149 permanent prescription drug disposal locations in 97 counties, creating more opportunities for residents to safely dispose of unused, unneeded or expired medications.
"The effects of prescription drug abuse are devastating to our families and our communities," Gov. Beshear said. "Medications, once they are no longer needed for their prescribed purposes, should be disposed of properly to reduce their risk of being diverted and abused. With nearly 150 disposal locations around the state, it's easier for Kentuckians to properly discard of these medications."
The permanent disposal boxes are monitored and are located in law enforcement buildings. Individuals can deposit their unneeded medications into the boxes with no questions asked. The agencies will ensure the drugs are disposed of in an environmentally safe manner.
"This is a perfect example of the state working with local communities to attack a problem," Gov. Beshear added.
The Governor has worked with lawmakers and other state officials throughout his administration to reduce the destructive impact of prescription drug abuse on Kentucky families. He signed House Bill 1 in April 2012 to require health care professionals to use the state's electronic prescription monitoring program and to require that pain clinics be owned by medical practitioners.
"One in five of our Kentucky teens has abused prescription medication for an off-label purpose, and that abuse is starting in the home when children have access to their parents' unused or expired pain medications," Attorney General Jack Conway said. "I have worked with Gov. Beshear on prescription take back initiatives, and I am thrilled to see options expand that Kentuckians can utilize throughout the year."
The disposal boxes are funded by Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Policy (KY-ASAP), Operation Unite, Kentucky League of Cities, and state and local law enforcement agencies.
The prescription drug disposal boxes address vital public safety and public health issues: medicines left in home cabinets are susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. According to Van Ingram, executive director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, more than 60 percent of the adolescents who use prescription drugs for off-label purposes reported that they obtained the medications from family and friends, often from the drugs not being properly disposed of or stored in the home.