TOWSON, MD—On Saturday, October 26, Baltimore County officials are recognizing National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, a nationwide initiative organized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to highlight safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs in communities, while raising awareness about the disease of prescription drug addiction.
On National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, residents are encouraged to safely dispose of out unwanted or expired medications, including prescription opioids, such as Percocet, OxyContin or Vicodin, at predetermined, approved locations. The full list of approved sites is available at takebackday.dea.gov
“Each overdose death means the loss of a son, daughter, mother, father, brother, sister, neighbor and friend. We have a moral imperative to do everything within our power to respond to this devastating epidemic,” County Executive Olszewski said. “This day—and every day—is take back day in Baltimore County and we urge residents to dispose of their medications and help save lives.”
Rates of prescription drug misuse have been steadily increasing. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. Removing the presence of unwanted or unused prescription medications from the home helps ensure the safety of family and friends.
Baltimore County has also introduced permanent, year-round prescription return boxes at 10 locations throughout the county to allow individuals to safely and anonymously return any expired or unused medication—with no questions asked. The drug drop boxes are located at:
- Baltimore County Police Baltimore County Police Precinct 1 Wilkens – 901 Walker Avenue, 21228
- Baltimore County Police Precinct 2 Woodlawn – 6424 Windsor Mill Road, 21207
- Baltimore County Police Precinct 3 Franklin – 606 Nicodemus Road, 21136
- Baltimore County Police Precinct 4 Pikesville – 215 Milford Mill Road, 21208
- Baltimore County Police Precinct 6 Towson – 115 W. Susquehanna Avenue, 21204
- Baltimore County Police Precinct 7 Cockeysville – 111 Wight Avenue, 21030
- Baltimore County Police Precinct 8 Parkville – 8532 Old Harford Road, 21234
- Baltimore County Police Precinct 9 White Marsh – 8220 Perry Hall Boulevard, 21236
- Baltimore County Police Precinct 11 Essex – 216 North Marlyn Avenue, 21221
- Baltimore County Police Precinct 12 Dundalk – 428 Westham Way, 21224
“I urge parents and guardians to take inventory of their medicine cabinet and secure all medications that are genuinely needed,” said Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, Director of the Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services. “When we don’t take these necessary precautions, we could inadvertently open the gateway to addiction.”
CVS Health plays an active role nationally and locally in supporting safe medication disposal. This week, the company announced that all CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide will offer customers a free safe medication disposal option, beginning in 2020. The company will add 1,000 in-store safe medication disposal units to the more than 1,700 units currently in CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide, including in Baltimore County. It will also donate up to 400 additional units to local police departments across the country, in addition to the more than 990 units already donated to law enforcement. Together, the existing medication disposal units have collected more than 1.1 million pounds of unwanted or expired medications.
Additionally, beginning next year, all CVS Pharmacy locations that do not offer a safe medication disposal kiosk will begin to offer DisposeRx® packets at no cost to patients filling an opioid prescription for the first time. According to the manufacturer, when water and the DisposeRx powder are added to a pill bottle with unwanted prescription medications, the combination produces a biodegradable gel, allowing for safe disposal at home.
“Our Safe Medication Disposal efforts allow people to easily get rid of unneeded medications – including controlled substances – at CVS Pharmacy and other locations in their community, getting opioids out of medicine cabinets where they could be diverted or misused,” said Thomas Moriarty, Chief Policy and External Affairs Officer, CVS Health. “Providing more options for proper disposal of unused medications in our stores and in the home is just one of the ways we’re working to help combat prescription opioid misuse and build healthier communities.”
“We’re proud to link arms with community leaders and local law enforcement to safeguard the health and well-being of our neighbors,” said Thomas B. Smyth, president and CEO of University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. “Our fervent hope is that, by making these designated safe drop boxes available to the community-at-large, we are helping area families avoid the physical trauma and the heartache associated with opioid overdose. One more overdose death is one more too many. We are called to help ‘Take Back’ our community’s health.”
If you or a loved one is suffering from an alcohol, tobacco or drug addiction, help is available. Call the Department of Health at 410-88-REACH (410-887-3224).
Maryland State Police are also participating in National Drug Take-Back Day.