CHARLESTON – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office will participate in the eighth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday near the East Rotunda on the California Street side of the West Virginia Capitol.
“We are happy to join in this endeavor once again to help rid our state and communities of unwanted prescriptions, as well as unused over-the-counter medication,” Morrisey said in a press release. “We were able to collect hundreds of pounds of medicine at the Capitol location during the two National Prescription Drug Take-Back days in 2013. We hope this week's event will be just as successful.”
Prescription drug abuse is a significant problem in West Virginia and the nation. A report by the Trust for America’s Health said West Virginia had the highest drug overdose mortality rate in the nation, at nearly 29 overdose deaths per 100,000 people.
The report said the overdose death rate in the state climbed by 605 percent between 1999 and 2010.
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration spearheads the Drug Take-Back Day, which was initially launched in 2010. During the event, local and state law enforcement agencies collect unused medication and dispose of it in a safe way that prevents potential abuse and protects the environment.
“I would encourage everyone to take a look through their medicine cabinet and clean out any unused, unwanted or expired medications and bring them to the event,” Morrisey said. “Even if the medicine is not one that typically is ‘abused,’ it is critical that pills, liquid and other forms of prescriptions are disposed of properly.
"Medicine that is thrown into the trash can be found by people looking to abuse drugs, and flushing it down the toilet can damage the environment.”
According to the 2011 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than 6 million Americans abuse prescription drugs. That same study revealed more than 70 percent of people abusing prescription pain relievers obtained them through friends or relatives, a statistic that includes raiding the family medicine cabinet.
“Everyone needs to work together to rid our communities of medicine we no longer need in the right way so it doesn’t end up in the wrong hands,” Morrisey said.
To find a Prescription Drug Take-Back collection site in your community, go to http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/.