On October 28, 2023, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will have its 25th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Take Back Day was created by the DEA to combat the drug overdose epidemic. Each Take Back Day, the public is encouraged to remove unneeded medications from their homes to prevent medication misuse and opioid addiction from ever starting.
AFSPA’s CEO, Paula S. Jakub recently wrote about International Overdose Awareness Day in August. She spoke about the startling increase in drug overdoses. In the past ten years, drug overdoses have increased by 95%. Of that number, two-thirds of it account for opioid-related deaths.
The initiative typically occurs twice a year, in the spring and fall, at designated collection sites across the country. These sites are often located in local pharmacies, police stations, and other secure locations, making it easy for individuals to participate.
The Importance of Prescription Drug Take Back Day
One of the most significant benefits of Prescription Drug Take Back Day is its role in preventing drug abuse and diversion. Many cases of opioid addiction begin with the misuse of prescription medications obtained from friends or family members. By safely disposing of unused or expired drugs, individuals can reduce the risk of these medications falling into the wrong hands, helping to curb the opioid epidemic.
Improper disposal of medications can have adverse environmental consequences. Flushing drugs down the toilet or throwing them in the trash can result in contamination of water sources and harm to wildlife. Prescription Drug Take Back Day ensures that pharmaceuticals are disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner, safeguarding our ecosystems.
Does the Take Back Day Work?
Since its inception in 2010, Prescription Drug Take Back Day has achieved remarkable success in collecting unused medications. According to the DEA, the initiative has collected over 13 million pounds (almost 6,000 metric tons) of prescription drugs, demonstrating its effectiveness in removing potentially harmful substances from homes. The DEA also keeps track of each Take Back Day’s results to show the effectiveness of the program.
The success of Prescription Drug Take Back Day aligns with broader government initiatives to combat the opioid epidemic. Efforts to expand access to addiction treatment and increase awareness of opioid-related issues are complemented by this grassroots event.
How Can AFSPA Help?
Narcan, also known as naloxone, is a life-saving medication that plays a crucial role in the context of Prescription Drug Take Back Day and the broader effort to combat the opioid epidemic. Narcan is an opioid antagonist, meaning it can rapidly reverse the effects of opioid overdose. Narcan’s ability to quickly reverse the effects of an overdose is instrumental in reducing fatalities associated with opioids. By making Narcan accessible and raising awareness about its use, Prescription Drug Take Back Day contributes to a safer environment and helps prevent tragic overdose deaths.
FSBP members may purchase naloxone-based rescue agents without a prescription in states that do not require one. Some states require a prescription from your health care provider to buy naloxone. FSBP covers naloxone-based rescue agents at 100% when obtained at network retail, network home delivery, and out-of-network retail (when outside the 50 United States). For more information, refer to Section 5(f), Prescription Drug Benefits, of the FSBP Brochure. In addition, FSBP offers pain management programs to support members who suffer from chronic pain and are either taking opioids or trying to avoid opioids.