October 28 was the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) fall National Drug Take Back Day. This public health and safety day is held twice a year to help promote the safe disposal of unused and expired medications. The events encourage the public to remove unneeded medications from their homes to prevent misuse, addiction, and safe disposal.
The Memorial Community Pharmacy, located at Memorial Hospital in Chester, held an event on Saturday to welcome community members to dispose of their medications in their secure drug disposal box. In April, the Pharmacy established a medication take-back program with Inmar.
The DEA warns that the drug overdose epidemic in the United States is a clear and present public health, public safety, and national security threat. Unused medications in the home are a source of drug abuse in millions of homes, with the opioid crisis in the United States fueled in part by that availability: 47% of misused prescription pain relievers are given by, bought from, or taken from a friend or relative. On average, an American dies of a drug overdose every 5 minutes. Memorial Community Pharmacy and the Healthy Communities Alliance (HCA) are committed to making our communities safer and healthier. The community can do its part by turning in unneeded medications and removing them from potential harm.
The event held on Saturday helped remove several pounds of unused medications off the streets, filling a full box. Community members brought in bags and boxes of meds they no longer needed to drop in the secure box. The HCA also had members on site to hand out free Narcan from ComWell and share information on prevention and recovery work being done with ComWell and the Alliance.
Memorial Community Pharmacy’s drug take-back box is available weekly during their open hours, Monday-Friday 7:00am-5:30pm and Saturdays 9:00am-1:00pm. There are some things that cannot be taken in the receptacle, such as inhalers and needles, but pharmacy staff are on hand to help customers determine what is acceptable.