SACRAMENTO, California. - Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, when the Drug Enforcement Administration encourages everyone to clean out their old prescriptions.
Flushing prescription pills can poison the local water supply, so instead, people can drop their bottles off at 200 police stations and government offices across California.
Susanna Marshland, Northern California regional vice president for the Fred Finch Youth and Family Services Center in Oakland, warned that unused medications are a danger to children, especially teens.
"There was an increase in parents relapsing during COVID, and a simultaneous increase in isolation and loneliness for their children," she said. "Kids whose needs are not being met may themselves turn to use."
According to the California Overdose Surveillance Dashboard, more than 5,300 people died from opioid overdoses in the state last year, a 120% increase from 2018. In 2020, Californians filled more than 14 million prescriptions for opioids. Find the closest drug drop-off sites online, at TakeBackDay.DEA.gov.
Nationally, said state Attorney General Rob Bonta, drug overdoses killed more than 93,000 Americans in 2020, and two-thirds of them involved a prescription or an illicit opioid.
"These aren't just statistics. These aren't just numbers. These are real people and these are real lives," he said. "We're talking about 93,000 moms, dads, teens, loved ones - each with a story."
Bonta added that at the last Take-Back Day in April, authorities collected 48,000 pounds of unused medications in California and 800,000 pounds across the nation.
Source: California News Service