Drug Take Back Programs Help Fight Prescription Drug Abuse

Ask any physician in Pennsylvania about prescription medication misuse and abuse and they’ll tell you it’s a national problem with Pennsylvania one of the worst states.

As part of Gov. Tom Corbett’s effort to help tackle prescription drug abuse, he announced on Dec. 16, 2013, that up to 250 disposal boxes are being placed in secure locations across the state. Get a list of drug take back locations.

Gus Geraci, MD, chief medical officer at the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) joined the governor and other providers at a press conference to announce the event.

“It’s not unusual for families, particularly those who may serve as caretakers for older relatives, to have a collection of unused medicines sitting around the house,” said Dr. Geraci in a recent press release.

“Mix-ups happen when you have a cabinet full of medicine bottles,” said Dr. Geraci. “Getting rid of leftover medications will make your house safer.”

Pennsylvania ranks 11th in the nation for drug overdose deaths with 15.1 for every 100,000 population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Report from November 2011.

Cleaning out medicine cabinets and properly disposing of leftover medications will help prevent Pennsylvanians from accidental medication misuse and abuse in the home, while also decreasing the odds of these medications finding their way to the street.

“Unfortunately, sometimes medications are stolen and find their way into the hands of those who will abuse them,” Dr. Geraci said. “The drug take back boxes that Gov. Corbett announced will also help chip away at that problem.”

Last fall, PAMED launched its “Pills for Ills, Not Thrills” campaign designed to raise awareness of problems associated with pill-seeking doctor shoppers—patients that hop from physician to physician looking to score prescription pain medication for illegal use.

Get more information and resources on PAMED’s website, including an educational booklet to help you identify pill-seeking doctor shoppers; a six-part webinar series, approved for CME, designed to help educate prescribers about the appropriate use of long-acting and extended-release opioids, and more.