Governor Bob McDonnell today announced Virginia's participation in the first-ever U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) National Take-Back Day, a program in which communities will provide collection sites to allow citizens to safely dispose of unused, unwanted or expired medications, to help prevent prescription drug abuse. National Take-Back Day will be held on Saturday, September 25th, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in more than 75 communities across the Commonwealth. More information about National Take-Back Day and a list of medication drop off sites in the Commonwealth is available online at www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/takeback/index.html or www.dea.gov.
The DEA is coordinating this one-day effort with the assistance of Virginia's Secretary of Public Safety, the Office of the Attorney General, the Virginia State Police, and local law enforcement agencies.
The Virginia Department of Health Professions, which houses the Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program, is spreading the word about National Take-Back Day with Virginia's healthcare professionals, agencies, and members of the General Assembly.
Speaking about National Take-Back Day, Governor McDonnell commented, "Drug abuse is directly related to increased crime rates, overdose deaths and emergency room visits. In Virginia, drug deaths are comparable to the number of traffic fatalities each year. We want to change the equation by taking preventative steps, including encouraging Virginians to get rid of old medications. People should not hold on to expired or unused medications, particularly in homes with children, teens and seniors which are especially vulnerable to this danger."
Important information about National Take-Back Day:
* The program is anonymous and free
* Prescription and over-the-counter medications are accepted
* Intra-venous solutions, injectables, and needles will not be accepted
* Illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine are not a part of this initiative
* Medications may be kept in original containers for disposal on National Take-Back Day
Public health officials and environmental quality experts recommend the following action steps for the ongoing disposal of medications:
* Participate in community and national pharmaceutical take back programs
* Remove unused, unwanted or expired prescription and over-the-counter drugs from their original container and mix with an undesirable substance such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter then place in nondescript sealable bags or containers such as empty cans or sealable bags for disposal
Public health officials now call prescription drug abuse an epidemic. It is the number 2 category of substance abuse, behind marijuana abuse which is number 1.