Chester County’s Department of Drug & Alcohol Services is spreading community awareness for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day taking place this Saturday, October 28th. Organized nationwide by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), National Prescription Drug Take Back Day provides temporary local sites for safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while educating the public about the potential for abuse of medications.
From 10am-2pm on Saturday, October 28th, temporary prescription drug disposal sites will be set up throughout Chester County, including Avondale, Berwyn, Coatesville, Devon, Downingtown, Kennett Square, Malvern, Phoenixville and West Grove. Find a location near you
Prescription drug abuse is an ever-growing epidemic not only in Chester County, but across the nation. 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 (SAMHSA), the average age for the first use of prescription drugs in the United States is 13 years old. Prescription drugs are often mistaken by adolescents as a “safe” alternative to illegal street drugs, which leads to increasing use. In addition to the misconception that prescription drugs are “safer” than illegal drugs, they are easily accessible in medicine cabinets and homes. Both of these factors lead to increased use.
“In order to decrease first time use of prescription drugs, it is imperative to begin with prevention efforts,” said Vince Brown, Director of the Chester County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services. “In addition to education and awareness, 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.
Brown adds, “Prescription painkillers such as Vicodin, Percocet, Oxycodone, Fentanyl, and Morphine are in the opioid classification of prescription drugs. Opioid prescription drugs essentially have the same chemical make-up as heroin, which means they affect the brain and body the same. Overuse of opioid prescription drugs has contributed greatly to the opioid and heroin epidemic which Chester County, as well as the nation, is currently facing.”
Chester County remains committed to tackling the opioid and heroin epidemic through intensive health, education, treatment and law enforcement measures, coordinated by its Overdose Prevention Task Force. The County’s 2017 Color 5K event, aimed at raising awareness and reducing the stigma of addiction, and raising funds to support overdose survivors, their families and friends, will be held in Everhart Park in West Chester on Saturday morning, November 4th. To register for the event, or make a donation, go to www.chesco.org/color5k.
There are 23 permanent drop-off locations in Chester County, and for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on October 28th, ten temporary locations will be added for disposal of prescription medications.