Vermonters Set New Record on Prescription Drug Take Back Day
Montpelier, Vt. — Vermonters set a record on the 18th nationwide Prescription Drug Take Back Day this past Saturday, turning in more than 3.5 tons of unused, unwanted and expired medication at over 60 collection sites throughout the state. The 6,734 pounds of collected medication marks the highest total in Vermont of the eight Take Back Days since fall 2015 and it was the first year that e‐cigarette and other vaping devices could also be turned in.
“We know the availability of unused prescriptions in the medicine cabinets of friends or relatives can lead to substance misuse for some Vermonters,” said Governor Phil Scott. “One of the keys to prevention is taking unused drugs out of the equation, and I’m grateful to all the Vermonters who continue to assist in this effort.”
Take Back Day is organized in partnership with the Vermont Health Department, the Department of Public Safety, local and state law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The goal is to help ensure prescription drugs that are no longer needed are discarded safely before they can be misused. Communities across the state hosted collection sites where Vermonters could safely and anonymously drop off unused medications. Locations were staffed by local and state police and county sheriff departments, and the collected medications were securely transported out of state and incinerated.
“Almost everyone has medications they no longer need,” said Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD. “Year-round collection programs, such as drop-off locations and mail-in envelopes, make it easy for Vermonters be sure these ‘Most Dangerous Leftovers’ are destroyed and not available for misuse. I’m especially pleased that people were also able to drop off their vaping devices and cartridges.”
Medications that are not properly stored pose a risk to the health of children and pets who might accidentally ingest them. Flushing medications or tossing them in the trash can also endanger our waterways and wildlife. The DEA estimates that about 10% of the medication collected on Take Back Day are opioids.
“Our take-back events highlight the problems associated to prescription drug abuse and gives our citizens an opportunity to contribute to the solution,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Boyle. “These efforts help remove unwanted, expired and unused prescription pills that can be abused, stolen or resold, which helps our continued dedication to combat the prescription pill, fentanyl and heroin epidemic of substance abuse and addiction.”
Here’s a look at how much medication was turned in during the previous eight Prescription Drug Take Back Days:
- April 2019: 6,562.11 pounds
- October 2018: 5,828.75 pounds
- 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
If you missed Take Back Day, 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 open to the community year-round.
To find a permanent drug disposal site near you, visit healthvermont.gov/drugtakeback or dial 2-1-1.
To learn more about prescription opioid awareness, visit healthvermont.gov/RxAware.