Berlin Prevention Works Coalition teams up with the Berlin Police Department and Worcester Goes Purple in support of the 20th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day
BERLIN, MD – The Berlin Police Department in partnership with the Berlin Prevention Works Coalition for Alcohol & Drug-Free Communities and other community partners are participating in the National Drug Take-Back initiative.
The initiative focuses on the safe disposal of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs you have at home, including opioids. The Berlin Police Department stresses the importance of not keeping drugs past their intended life of usage. The dangers of self-medicating, abuse by household members including children, and theft of prescription drugs greatly increase when not disposed of in a timely manner. No liquids or syringes.
The biannual event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Berlin Police Station. The event is an effort to rid homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. Medicines that languish in homes are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses from these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
In addition to DEA’s National Drug Take Back Day on April 24, prescription drugs can be disposed of any day throughout the year at any of the 11,000 authorized collectors.
“The DEA’s Take Back Day is a great reminder to get rid of unneeded and expired prescriptions, not only on April 24, but also on any day of the year. Prescription drugs often end up in the wrong hands, fueling an epidemic of opioid deaths and overdoses. Members of the Berlin community can help protect their families, friends, and community by participating in the DEA Take-Back event to safely dispose of unused prescription medications,” Dr. Darlene Jackson-Bowen, Program Director at Berlin Prevention Works Coalition said.
Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that opioid overdose deaths have increased during the coronavirus pandemic. The CDC issued an alert in December indicating a significant increase in overdose deaths from August 2019 through Aug. 1, 2020, including concerning trends during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the United States, 85,500 people died of an overdose in just one year, from August 2019 to August 2020. This is the largest number of drug overdoses on record in the country within a one-year period and a 27 percent increase in deaths year over year. While many of these deaths are attributed to synthetic opioids (fentanyl), and while the CDC is seeing a decline in deaths attributed to prescription opioids, there are still an alarming number of overdose deaths involving prescription opioids.
To keep everyone safe, collection sites will follow local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations. Given the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, DEA wants to ensure that the public is aware of other ways they can dispose of unwanted prescription drugs without having to leave their homes. More information is available at: https://takebackday.dea.gov/
During the last Take Back Day held on Oct. 24, 2020, DEA collected a record amount of drugs since the program began in 2010. With a total of 4,153 law enforcement participants at 4,587 collection sites, the event brough in a total weight of 985,392 pounds, or 492.7 tons, of drugs. This brings the total weight collected to 13.68 million pounds, or more than 6,842 tons, of prescription drugs collected in the history of the program. Collection results may include materials other than prescription drugs.
For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the April 24 Take Back Day event, go to www.DEATakeBack.com.