U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that there are more than 200 sites available throughout Ohio to receive unwanted prescription drugs for safe disposal on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, September 29. The event, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), is aimed at reducing the amount of expired or unused prescription drugs for illegal use or prescription drug abuse.
"Abuse of prescription drugs--especially painkillers--can devastate communities. Too many teenagers can get prescription drugs from the family medicine cabinet or from family and friends who no longer use the medicine they were legally prescribed," Brown said. "That's why National Take-Back Day is so important in Ohio. All prescription medications--especially painkillers like Oxycontin and Vicodin--should be disposed of safely to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands."
Ohio is second only to Florida in the number of Oxycodone prescriptions filled, and Ohio's death rate due to unintentional drug poisoning increased more than 350 percent from 1999 to 2008. In 2007, unintentional drug poisoning became the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio, surpassing motor vehicle crashes and suicide for the first time on record. Prescription pain medications, such as oxycodone, morphine, and methadone are largely responsible for increasing numbers of overdoses and deaths in Ohio.
Community leaders across the state have expressed concerns about the increasing problems with drug abuse and often attribute the rise in abuse to drug diversion (the unlawful channeling of regulated drugs from medical sources to the illicit marketplace of pain medications), doctor shopping (using multiple prescribers), and pill mills (doctors, pharmacies, or illegal pain clinics that prescribe and dispense prescription drugs inappropriately or for non-medical reasons or personal financial gain). A recent report indicated that drug abusers have begun to target senior citizens to gain access to prescription painkillers.
Brown has led the fight to crack down on prescription drug abuse, including efforts to shutter pill mills and end the practice of "doctor shopping," and "pharmacy hopping." In 2010, Ohio's Medicaid program spent $820 million on prescription medicines. While most prescription pain medicines are used as prescribed, some criminals are defrauding the Medicaid system by attempting to acquire multiple prescriptions and filling them at multiple pharmacies, undermining taxpayers and efforts to combat prescription drug abuse. In 2011, Brown introduced legislation, the Stop Trafficking of Pills Act (STOP Act), which would require national adoption of a Medicaid Lock-In program. Medicaid Lock-Ins limit convicted prescription drug abusers and high-risk patients from visiting multiple doctors and pharmacies to obtain and fill prescriptions. This enables the kind of close monitoring needed to prevent high-risk patients from personally abusing or selling opioids on the taxpayers' dime.
In May, Brown appeared before a Senate committee to discuss Ohio's prescription drug epidemic and to call for the implementation of a Federal Medicaid Lock-In program. He also joined a group of bipartisan senators to introduce legislation to reauthorize the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Drug Reporting (NASPER) Act, a prescription drug monitoring program critical to combating the abuse of prescription drugs. Sen. Brown has also joined his colleagues in introducing legislation that would prevent teenagers from gaining access to discarded prescription drugs by permitting individuals and long-term care facilities to deliver unused drugs for safe disposal and by expanding drug "take-back" programs.
A list of participant sites and locations can be found below. Information is provided by U.S. Department of Justice's Drug Enforcement Agency and can be found here under "Search for a collection site near you."