NEW CASTLE, N.Y. -- The stats are brutal -- more than 100 Americans die every day from drug overdoses, most of them involving prescription painkillers or heroin.
The majority of those who abuse prescription medications say they got them from family members or friends, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Yet, there is something simple everyone can do to help keep dangerous substances out of the wrong hands, the office’s director Michael Botticelli said in a blog post on www.whitehouse.gov.
This Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, an initiative that allows folks to drop off unneeded or expired prescription drugs at thousands of legal collection sites.
Above and beyond the once-a-year national event, some law enforcement agencies maintain permanent drop-off locations.
One of those agencies, the New Castle Police Department, has a safe and secure MedReturn Drug Collection Unit available 24/7 at its headquarters, 200 S. Greeley Ave., no questions asked. The only things that can’t be accepted are hydrogen peroxide, needles, liquids and aerosol cans, police said.
The New Castle United for Youth group has created a prescription drug abuse fact sheet with tips for parents and guardians.
The group offers the following advice to parents:
- Secure your prescriptions.
- Monitor their quantities on a regular basis.
- Talk to kids about alcohol and drug abuse and the risks associated with misusing prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
One in five teenagers say they have tried prescription drugs to get high.
Parents should make it known that, despite popular belief, prescription medications are no safer than illegal drugs when misused and some can be addictive and also lethal when combined with alcohol.
In the latest studies, it was found prescription drug abuse by youths ages 12-17 and young adults ages 18-25 was second only to marijuana use.
Organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the national Take-Back initiative is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Botticelli said.
At past Take-Back Days, more than 6.4 million pounds of prescription medicines have been collected, he added in his post.