HARRISBURG, PA — Attorney General Josh Shapiro encouraged Pennsylvanians to join the fight against the opioid epidemic by turning in old or unused prescription medications today, which is National Drug Take Back Day.
“Eighty percent of people suffering from opioid addiction started by abusing prescription drugs, and the vast majority of those who misuse these drugs got them from friends, relatives or a medicine cabinet,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “I am encouraging Pennsylvanians to safely dispose of their unused prescription medications at a drop box in their communities.”
Attorney General Shapiro detailed these facts to highlight the toll the epidemic is taking on Pennsylvania:
15 Pennsylvanians die every day from drug addiction.
In 2016, 4,642 Pennsylvanians fatally overdosed – a 37 percent increase from 2015. The final 2017 numbers are expected to be higher.
Attorney General Shapiro highlighted actions his office is taking to confront the epidemic:
- Collected and destroyed more than 56 tons of drugs since taking office in January 2017
- Arresting on average nearly five drug dealers per day
- Increased drug diversion-related arrests by 72 percent
- Distributed 300,000 drug deactivation and disposal bags at pharmacies across Pennsylvania in counties hit hardest by the epidemic
- Distributed an additional 50,000 bags at hospices and homecare organizations
- Worked with the insurance industry to increase access to substance abuse treatment
“Drug disposal is a core part of our strategy in combating the opioid epidemic,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “We’ve significantly bolstered our efforts by increasing access to drug disposal pouches and take back boxes to make it easier for Pennsylvanians to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs.”
National Drug Take Back Day was created to educate the public about the safe disposal of prescription medications. Drugs that are improperly disposed of can fall into the hands of someone who will misuse them, or they could even end up harming the environment, groundwater or native wildlife. This initiative provides the public with the resources to get rid of prescriptions in a safe manner, before they contribute to the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania.
To find your local prescription drug take back box visit this page on the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs website.
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