Virginians to take advantage of Saturday’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day to dispose of unused or expired medications, especially prescription opioids, before they can be misused, abused, or accidentally ingested.
Law enforcement agencies, community partners, and members of the State Attorney General’s office will be stationed at dozens of locations throughout the Commonwealth to accept medications for proper disposal. Takeback locations across the Roanoke region, which will be open Saturday, April 24th from 10am – 2pm, are listed below, and you can find a site near you by searching here.
“Too often opioid addiction starts in the medicine cabinet when old or unused prescriptions fall into the hands of someone who could abuse them,” said Attorney General Herring. “Disposing of any unused prescriptions at a Drug Takeback location is such an easy way for Virginians to rid their homes of potentially dangerous drugs. I am encouraging everyone with unused prescriptions at home to take a moment this weekend to clean out your medicine cabinets and bring those drugs to a disposal location. This is such a quick and easy way to make your homes and our communities safer.”
There is a strong link between misuse of prescription opioids, opioid addiction, and even subsequent use of heroin once prescriptions become too expensive or are no longer accessible. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
Heroin abuse is 19 times more likely among those who abuse prescription opioids.
Half of young people who used heroin got started by abusing prescription opioids.
One in fifteen individuals who misuse prescription opioid painkillers will try heroin within 10 years.
Studies show a link between the availability of prescription and illicit drugs and the likelihood of abuse.
In Virginia, opioid overdose deaths have risen steadily since 2010:
Heroin overdose deaths have risen more than 1,056% between 2010 and 2018, from 48 to 555.
Fentanyl deaths have risen by over 1,593% percent from 2007 to 2018, from 48 to 813.
Prescription opioid overdose deaths have risen 19% between 2007 and 2018, from 400 deaths to 477.
The heroin and prescription opioid epidemic has been a top priority for the State of Virginia which has attacked the problem with a multifaceted approach that includes enforcement, education, prevention, and legislation to encourage reporting of overdoses in progress, expand the availability of naloxone, and expand access to the Prescription Monitoring Program. The state has also supported federal efforts to improve the availability of treatment and recovery resources and made prescription drug disposal kits available across the Commonwealth.