Counties Take on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

On Saturday, October 23rd, numerous counties across Maryland reported successful efforts to reduce the amount of unused prescription drugs in circulation as a part of National Drug Take Back Day.pills tumble from a prescription bottle

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day began as a United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) initiative to curb “potential accidental poisoning, misuse, and overdose” as a result of consuming unused or expired prescription medications. The DEA also notes that “[p]roper disposal of unused drugs… protects the environment.” As a part of Take Back Day, Harford County, alone, reported a collection of 1,693 pounds of medicines for safe disposal. Altogether, the County has recovered a total of 4,964 pounds of unwanted drugs since the beginning of the year.

Howard County Drug Free, in partnership with the Howard County Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Howard County Government, the Howard County Health Department, reported 1,106 pounds of medication collected as a part of Take Back Day. Lieutenant Governor Boyd K. Rutherford joined the effort and said the following in a press release:

“Substance misuse is a crucial public safety and public health issue that has claimed the lives of too many of our friends, neighbors, and family members… Drug Take Back Day is a way to keep our loved ones safe by getting unused drugs out of the home and disposing of them safely. I commend state, federal, and local agencies, as well as the community-based organizations working collaboratively on prevention initiatives and connecting those living with a substance use disorder with resources to support successful treatment and recovery.”

Both Talbot County and Frederick County also held events in support of the annual initiative. National Prescription Drug Take Back Day has held even greater significance in recent years as Maryland has seen an uptick in opioid-related deaths. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, prescription opioid medications are largely seen as a driving factor in the opioid epidemic.

At this year’s MACo Winter Conference, panelists during the “Righting a WrongLeveraging Opioid Settlement Funds to Heal Maryland” presentation will be discussing Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh’s proposed opioid medication settlement with Johnson and Johnson, and how the funds from this settlement can help fight the epidemic.

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference: