Much has been written about the soaring rates of prescription abuse and misuse in the United States, and now a federal agency is trying to enlist the public in a program to change that troubling trend. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) hopes that its National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on October 29 will be a way for people with unwanted or out-of-date medications to dispose of them in a safe and controlled manner and thus remove the possibility that they will be misused.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimated in 2009 that more than 7 million Americans were abusing prescription drugs, and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America says that that approximately 2,500 teens use prescription drugs rather than illegal ones to get high for the first time each year. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including the home medicine cabinet, and that people don't know how to properly dispose of unused medications. For its October 29 collection inititative, the DEA has set up prescription-drug disposal centers throughout the United States. A list of the centers is posted at http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html.
To read much more about the crisis involving abuse of prescription medications and strategies to reduce the problem, see Psychiatric News at http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/45/17/9.3.full and http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/45/20/6.1.full.