Preventing Prescription Drug Misuse & National Drug Take Back Day

Educating for a Safer Tomorrow: National Drug Take Back Day & Prescription Drug Misuse Prevention

Publish Date September 11, 2023 3 Minute Read
Author Kroger Health Team

The number of accidental deaths is on the rise and it’s largely due to drug overdoses, the majority of which involve opioids. By understanding some basic information about proper medication practices and knowing what to look out for, you can become part of the solution to this growing health concern. Learning about addictive medications, knowing how to safely use them, how to dispose of them and how to recognize signs of misuse can save you or someone you love. With your help, we can create healthier, safer and more supportive communities.

What is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day?

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) hosts National Prescription Drug Take Back Day during the last Saturday of the months of April and October. This event addresses the growing issue of prescription drug abuse and improper drug disposal. On these days, we host events across the United States dedicated to providing a safe, convenient and responsible way for people to dispose of prescription drugs, while also providing community education.

What Should I Know About Opioids?

Opioids are drugs chemically similar to the opium found in poppy plants. Though prescription opioids have many medical uses, they also have many risks, including potentially slowing or stopping breathing. Risks are highest for people who don’t take opioids daily, take higher doses than prescribed or use other sedatives, such as alcohol. Not only can the body become dependent on opioids and go through flu-like temporary withdrawal symptoms if opioids are suddenly stopped, the natural chemical balance in a person’s brain can also sometimes change due to opioid misuse, leading to addiction. Understanding the basics of opioids and exercising safe medication practices and proper storage and disposal are key to responsible use.

What are the Signs of Prescription Drug Misuse?

Misuse happens any time patients take medications differently than the prescriber intended. Many prescription drugs have the potential to be addictive and problematic if used improperly. Identifying the signs of prescription drug misuse can be challenging, and even if the individual is taking their medication as prescribed, it’s important to watch for potentially dangerous side effects, such as drowsiness or slurred speech. Knowing and being able to identify the warning signs that indicate a person is having a problem will allow you to help them seek the support they need, more quickly.

How Can I Help Someone Who Is Misusing Opioids or Other Drugs?

It’s important to remember that addiction is a chronic brain disease and that a person showing symptoms of opioid use disorder or addiction to other drugs is in need of mental wellness support. Though every individual is different, and every situation varies, having a support system makes a positive impact on a person’s wellness journey. The best way to promote recovery is by encouraging evidence-based, ongoing treatment provided by a medical professional capable of ensuring a comprehensive approach to healing. Learning how to support your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers and others in your community empowers you to make a lifesaving difference. If you or someone you know needs help and is unsure where to start, consider reaching out to your pharmacist, Little Clinic practitioner or primary care physician.

Where Can I Find Medication Disposal Near Me?

Medications are only safe for use as specifically prescribed for one person for a specified period of time and when they no longer fit that criteria, they should be disposed of properly. To dispose of old prescriptions on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, simply locate a participating pharmacy in your community and bring in your old medications. Kroger Health is also proud to offer DisposeRx® at-home medication disposal packets free of charge, with no prescription necessary. You can pick up DisposeRx® packets at your local pharmacy.

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