For Immediate Release: October 26, 2018
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Ofirah Yheskel, Ofirah.Yheskel@governor.virginia.gov

Governor Northam Urges Virginians to Safely Dispose of Unused or Expired Prescription Drugs

Saturday, October 27 is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today called on Virginians to practice proper disposal of their unused, unwanted, or expired prescription medications this Saturday during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. One of the easiest ways to help fight prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths is to discard any prescription drugs that have expired or are no longer in use.

“National Prescription Drug Take Back Day gives Virginians a safe, convenient, and responsible way to get rid of unneeded or expired prescription medications, and is also an important tool in combatting the opioid epidemic,” said Governor Northam. “Drug addiction and overdose is a serious public health challenge in our Commonwealth and it is more important now than ever that we do everything we can to keep prescription drugs away from children and out of the hands of individuals who could abuse them.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sponsors National Prescription Drug Take Back Day to address a crucial public health and public safety issue. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.2 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. 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.

“The substance use disorder crisis has touched the lives of almost every Virginian in some way,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey, MD. “Taking time to ensure that unused, unwanted or expired prescription medications are disposed of properly during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is a simple, effective action we can all take to prevent these drugs from ending up in the wrong hands.”

“Combating the opioid epidemic requires a whole of community approach, and events such as these strengthen partnerships between our federal and local law enforcement officials,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “Encouraging our family, friends and loved ones to not only participate, but raise awareness, will increase accountability in communities across the Commonwealth.”

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.

During the 15th National Take Back Day in April 2018, 949,046 pounds of prescription drugs were collected nationwide.

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

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