Chester County’s Department of Drug & Alcohol Services is spreading community awareness for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day set for this Saturday, April 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, April 28th, temporary prescription drug disposal sites will be located throughout Chester County, in locations including Avondale, Coatesville, Downingtown, 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 misused and abused prescription drugs fall into three different categories which include 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 misuse 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 misuse 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 misuse 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.”
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; and they have had a large hand in the opioid and heroin epidemic which our county, as well as our country, is currently facing.
Chester County remains committed to tackling the opioid and heroin epidemic through intensive prevention, education, treatment and law enforcement measures, coordinated its Overdose Prevention Task Force. To learn more, or to get involved, visit the newly created Overdose Prevention Task Force website, or download the Opioid Epidemic Community Tool Kit.
There are also 23 permanent collection boxes for prescription drugs located in Chester County. Find the list at chesco.org/2673/Medication-Drop-Off.