National Drug Take Back Day—created by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)—is October 24th. This Saturday, people can get rid of prescription pills by dropping them off at a collection site, where they will be disposed of safely and without judgement.
According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, that year, prescription drugs were the second most commonly misused drug in the United States. More than half of people who had misused a prescription pain reliever obtained it from a friend or relative.
John Lyons from Amatus Recovery Centers started using Adderall at age 9. He says he had already been through a lot of painful experiences; taking Adderall taught him that prescription drugs could make him feel better about himself.
“If people don’t discard drugs like Xanax, Hydrocodone, Valium,” he says, “for somebody like me and a lot of other people, it’s like a candy store. Anytime you’re at someone’s house, you think, ‘What’s in the medicine cabinet?’”
If you have powerfully addictive pills in your home, they could wind up in the hands of someone who has—or is vulnerable to—addiction. But you can’t just throw them in the trash. Addiction changes the brain, making people compulsively seek drugs or alcohol. If pills are anywhere in the house, someone with addiction could find them.
“When teenagers are experimenting with drugs,” Lyons says, “they will take any pill they see. People in the community need to be conscious that they can’t keep harmful narcotics in their homes, especially around children that struggle with addiction and behavioral issues.”
It’s important not to flush dangerous drugs down the toilet, either. Most medications are not removed by septic systems or wastewater treatment plants, so they can damage our food and water supply.
Lyons believes that it’s especially important to keep powerfully addictive drugs away from kids and teenagers. He also says that education—for both parents and kids—is key for prevention. “Nine times out of ten if the parent isn’t educated about addiction, the children aren’t either,” he says.
The more people who participate in and understand the importance of this day—and who know the reasons to keep harmful narcotics out of the house—the more youth we could save from going down the path of addiction.
In Baltimore—where the Amatus Recovery Center Foundations Recovery Center is located, and near the Amatus Recovery Centers headquarters—there are 32 dropoff locations. Tons of dangerous drugs are disposed of on National Drug Take Back Day—literally. On the October 2019 National Drug Take Back Day alone, Americans disposed of 441.5 tons of drugs. Let’s try for even more this time. It could save lives.
If you are struggling with an addiction or a co-occurring mental health disorder, there is help and hope. Amatus Recovery Centers offers high-quality treatment for substance use and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff will help you understand the underlying causes of your addiction and build the healthy coping skills to thrive in long-term recovery. To learn more, call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.