MEDICINE

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The “Take Back” pro­gram’s goal is to re­move ex­pired and po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous pre­scrip­tion drugs from the com­mu­nity to pre­vent abuse, Davis said.

“We know it’s very ben­e­fi­cial to Ohio,” Davis said. “It ben­e­fits the com­mu­nity and helps to curb some of the opi­oid abuse.”

Ohioans turned over 45,206 pounds (about 22.6 tons) of dis­carded drugs that day. It was the fifth­high­est amount, trail­ing only Cal­i­for­nia, Texas, Wis­con­sin and New York. With the ex­cep­tion of Wis­con­sin, the other states in the top five have sig­nif­i­cantly higher pop­u­la­tions than Ohio.

Al­to­gether, 457.1 tons was col­lected from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Vir­gin Is­lands and Guam. That to­tal also in­cludes 1,710 pounds from Na­tive Amer­i­can and Alaskan Na­tive com­mu­ni­ties.

Since 2010, the DEA has spon­sored Na­tional Take Back Day col­lec­tions twice a year, in April and Oc­to­ber. The fall to­tal was slightly higher than the spring col­lec­tion of 456 tons, with Ohio check­ing in at 40,509 pounds (20.25 tons). The to­tal over eight years is now nearly 11 mil­lion tons col­lected, the DEA re­ported.

“We know that a ma­jor­ity of abused pre­scrip­tion drugs are ob­tained from fam­ily and friends, in­clud­ing from the home medicine cab­i­net,” DEA act­ing Ad­min­is­tra­tor Ut­tam Dhillon said in a news re­lease.

“If we re­duce the avail­abil­ity of those un­used or ex­pired med­i­ca­tions through proper dis­posal, the fewer drugs there are to be mis­used, and fewer peo­ple will be at risk for abuse, ad­dic­tion, over­dose and even death,” Dhillon said.

Ohio also does bet­ter than some larger states be­cause it has 282 col­lec­tion sites avail­able to the pub­lic. That’s be­hind only Texas, Cal­i­for­nia and Penn­syl­va­nia, all of which have more than 300, Davis said.

Within 50 miles of Colum­bus, there are 25 col­lec­tion sites at drug­stores and hospi­tals. Davis said she knows that some hospi­tals and phar­ma­cies of­fer a ser­vice to dis­pose of drugs year­round — not just on the two spe­cial DEA col­lec­tion days.

The DEA doesn’t go through what is col­lected, so there’s no break­down of the drugs dis­carded.

“It’s truly ‘no ques­tions asked,’” Davis said.

An­other side ben­e­fit of the pro­gram is that it pro­vides a bet­ter and safer way of dis­pos­ing of drugs. The fed­eral En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency and Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion have ad­vised that flush­ing pre­scrip­tion drugs down a toi­let or throw­ing them in the trash can pose po­ten­tial safety and health haz­ards.

An­drew Moss is on the front lines in fight­ing drug ad­dic­tion as vice pres­i­dent of Ad­dic­tion Sta­bi­liza­tion Ser­vices at Mary­haven, cen­tral Ohio’s old­est and most com­pre­hen­sive be­hav­ioral­health cen­ter. Moss said the “Take Back” pro­gram is a “tool in the tool belt” of strate­gies in fight­ing drug abuse.

“It is a pos­i­tive step that can be taken by peo­ple in Ohio,” Moss said.

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