For Immediate Release: April 27, 2018
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Ofirah Yheskel, Ofirah.Yheskel@governor.virginia.gov

Governor Northam Urges Virginians to Practice Proper Disposal of Unused or Expired Prescription Drugs

Saturday, April 28 is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today called on Virginians to properly dispose of their unused, unwanted, or expired prescription medications. One of the easiest ways for Virginians to help fight prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths is to discard any prescription drugs that have expired or are no longer in use.

“The DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day helps us fight prescription drug abuse and the negative public safety and public health issues that accompany it,” said Governor Northam. “More than 1,400 Virginians died in 2017 due to fatal drug overdoses—a number far exceeding car crashes and gun deaths. Studies have shown that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. These appalling statistics show why we must continue to work with our federal partners to ensure these drugs don’t find their way into the wrong hands.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sponsors National Prescription Drug Take Back Day because proper disposal of prescription medications helps keep them out of the wrong hands. Prescription drugs are intended only for the person to whom they are prescribed, and when those medications are misplaced, forgotten about, or unaccounted for, they can become a danger to others.

“Partnerships such as these between local law enforcement and the federal government are positive steps to combating this deadly disease of addiction,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “Please safely dispose of expired and unneeded medicines, as medicine cabinets are an easy source for prescriptions drugs for teenagers. We must continue to encourage Virginians to not only participate in these programs, but promote awareness and accountability in communities across the Commonwealth.”

“Prescription drug abuse, specifically opioids, is a significant public health challenge in the Commonwealth today,” said Dr. Daniel Carey, Secretary of Health and Human Resources.  “Unlike illicit drugs, prescription medications can be found in common household areas, which make them easy to steal or lose. National Prescription Take Back Day reduces those risks and ensures prescription drugs don’t fall into the wrong hands.”

Virginia is currently fighting an opioid and heroin overdose epidemic that has been partially fueled by prescription drugs. Prescription opioid painkillers, when abused, have similar effects to those of heroin and other illicit opioids, and an estimated 80 percent of people using heroin began by misusing prescription opioids.

Previous National Take Back Days have successfully helped to remove these and other potentially dangerous prescription drug from medicine cabinets across the country; since its original launch in 2010, over nine million pounds of prescription drugs have been collected.

Visit https://takebackday.dea.gov/ for more information and to find your nearest collection site.

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