PRESCRIPTION DRUG TAKE BACK DAY YIELDS THREE TONS OF UNWANTED, UNUSED DRUGS FOR DISPOSAL
MONTPELIER, Vt – Vermonters turned in more than three tons of unused, unwanted and expired medication at nearly 70 collection sites across the state on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day this past Saturday, April 28.
The 6,008 pounds of collected prescription medication marked the highest total in Vermont for the six Take Back Days since fall 2015.
“As we continue to combat our opioid epidemic through prevention, treatment, recovery and enforcement initiatives, removing unused opioid medications from distribution is incredibly important and a key prevention strategy,” said Governor Phil Scott. “I want to thank Vermonters for their continued help in getting Vermont’s most dangerous leftovers off the street, as well as the Vermont Departments of Health and Public Safety, and local law enforcement for their work to collect and safely dispose of these unused medications.”
Take Back Day is organized in partnership with the Health Department, local and state law enforcement and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to help ensure prescription drugs that people are no longer using don’t wind up being misused. As part of Saturday’s event, communities across the state played host to collection sites where people could safely and anonymously drop off unused medications. Local and state police, and county sheriff departments staffed the locations.
Studies show that 42 to 71 percent of prescribed opioids go unused. The DEA estimates that about 10 percent of the medication collected on Prescription Drug Take Back Day are opioids.
“The start of drug misuse is often a matter of opportunity,” said Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD. “We know that people who abuse prescription painkillers can readily get them from friends or family – often straight out of the medicine cabinet,” Dr. Levine explained. “The fact that literally tons of drugs were collected makes it clear that Take Back Days and our permanent drop-off sites around the state make a difference in keeping drugs out of the wrong hands, and are disposed of in a way that won’t pollute our waterways or injure wildlife.”
“Vermonters stepped up on Take Back Day,” Department of Public Safety Commissioner Thomas D. Anderson said. “Thanks to their efforts, and the work of health and law enforcement professionals, a record amount of dangerous leftover prescription drugs, including opioid painkillers, were removed from people’s medicine cabinets.”
Here’s a look at how much medication was turned in during the previous six Prescription Drug Take Back Days:
- April 2018: 6,008 pounds.
- October 2017: 6,007.1 pounds.
- April 2017: 5,552.9 pounds.
- October 2016: 3,934.4 pounds.
- April 2016: 5,094.4 pounds.
- September 2015: 5,800.4 pounds.
The collected medication is securely transported out of state and incinerated.
Don’t worry if you missed Take Back Day — Vermonters have other options. The Health Department coordinates a system of permanent prescription drug disposal sites, such as at pharmacies and police stations where disposal boxes or kiosks are in areas open to the community. To find a permanent drug disposal site near you, visit healthvermont.gov/drugtakeback or dial 2-1-1.