Chester County’s Department of Drug & Alcohol Services is raising community awareness for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day taking place on Saturday, April 29th from 10am-2pm. Organized nationwide by the Drug Enforcement Administration, National Prescription Drug Take Back Day provides local sites for safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while educating the public about the potential for abuse of medications.
Temporary prescription drug disposal sites will be set up in Avondale, Berwyn, Coatesville, Downingtown, Kennett Square, Malvern, Phoenixville and West Grove. These temporary sites will join the 23 permanent drug disposal sites throughout the county.
“Prescription drug abuse is an ever-growing epidemic nationwide, and Chester County is not immune to the problem,” said Vince Brown, Executive Director of Drug & Alcohol Services. “Current estimates are that nearly 35,000 people in Chester County are suffering from some sort of substance use disorder which occurs when a person uses a drug or alcohol substance and the use results in physical, behavioral, or social problems at school, work or home”.
Commonly abused prescription drugs fall into three different categories: opioids, which are pain relievers and have a similar chemical make up as heroin; sedatives, which are used to treat anxiety and depression; and stimulants, which increase attention, energy, blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the average age for the first use of prescription drugs in the United States is 13 years old. Prescription drugs are often mistaken as a “safe” alternative to illegal street drugs, which leads to increasing use, and are easily accessible in medicine cabinets.
“In order to decrease first time use of prescription drugs, it is imperative to begin with prevention efforts,” added Vince Brown. “Prescription drug abuse prevention includes locking up or monitoring prescription medications that are in the home and disposing of any unneeded or expired prescription medications at a medication collection box.”
Medication collection boxes are just one of several prevention, education and awareness initiatives undertaken by Chester County to combat the opioid and heroin epidemic plaguing the region.
Chester County’s Department of Drug and Alcohol Services wants to ensure that residents are aware of the drug and alcohol treatment services and resources available for both the insured and uninsured. Insurance holders, including Medicaid, should call the number listed on the back of the insurance card to receive information accessing drug and alcohol services. Uninsured individuals can call one of the following agencies for help:
Locate a drop-off site near you
Information and resources on drug addiction