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DEA to Hold Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

The Drug Enforcement Administration and its partners will hold the annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Sept. 27 at the Sugar Estate post office on St. Thomas. It runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The service is free and anonymous, the DEA said in a press release.

Tablets, capsules and all other solid dosage forms will be collected. Intravenous solutions, injectables and syringes will not be accepted.

The DEA holds the event so residents may turn over their unused, unneeded and expired prescription medications.

According to the DEA, unused or expired prescription medications are a public safety issue, leading to accidental poisoning, overdose and abuse.

Pharmaceutical drugs, particularly controlled substances, taken without a prescription or a doctor’s supervision can be just as dangerous as taking illicit drugs.

The nonmedical use of prescription drugs ranks second only to marijuana as the most prevalent category of drug abuse in the United States, according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Two-and-a-half times more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin and inhalants combined, according to the 2010 National Survey.

The survey reports that 7 million people over the age of 12 used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons during the month before being questioned.

One in six high school seniors used a prescription drug that was a controlled substance, either an amphetamine, sedative, tranquilizer or narcotic painkiller, for nonmedical reasons during the previous year, according to the 2011 Monitoring the Future Survey conducted for the National Institute on Drug Abuse by the University of Michigan.

One in 12 high-school seniors used the pharmaceutical narcotic Vicodin for nonmedical purposes during the previous year, the 2011 monitoring data shows. About 5 percent used OxyContin, a potent narcotic, nonmedically during the previous year.

One in 12 high school seniors also used a medication made with amphetamine for nonmedical purposes during the previous year, with 6.5 percent of high school seniors using the prescription drug Adderall nonmedically, the 2011 monitoring survey reports.

The 2010 National Survey reports that 2.4 million people 12 and older abused prescription drugs for the first time last year, an average of 6,600 a day.

Two million people began their abuse of any drug for the first time ever with pain relievers, second only to marijuana with 2.4 million, according to the 2010 National Survey. Of those, 1.9 million people went on to become dependent and 406,000 people received specialty treatment for addiction to pain relievers in 2010.

Of those 12 and older who abused pain relievers in the past year, the majority, 55 percent, got them from friends and family for free, including from their home medicine cabinets, according to the 2010 National Survey. Another 17.3 percent reported they got the drug from one doctor. Only 4.4 percent got them from a drug dealer or stranger, and only slightly more than four people out of 1,000 bought them on the Internet.

Visits by individuals to hospital emergency rooms involving the misuse or abuse or pharmaceutical drugs have doubled over the past five years and, for the third year in a row, exceed the number of visits involving illicit drugs, according to 2009 Drug Abuse Warning Network data released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Emergency room visits involving pharmaceutical drugs in 2009 were up 10 percent over 2008, according to 2009 Drug Abuse Warning Network data. The number rose from 1.1 million to 1.2 million.

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