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Dispose of Leftover Prescription Drugs on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

It was the summer of Jake’s junior year in high school, a time filled with family barbecues, friends and regular workouts with the football team. It also was a time filled with promise—until prescription opioids entered the picture.

Jake was prescribed hydrocodone that summer after his wisdom teeth were removed. When the recommended dose didn’t relieve his pain, he took more than directed. Within two weeks, he ran through his 30-day supply and began to experience withdrawals.

One way Mississippians can protect their loved ones is by safely disposing of unneeded medications during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 2. Photo via ODFree.org

Jake found half a bottle of hydrocodone in his mother’s bathroom that had expired, but he was desperate and knew she wouldn’t miss them. Then a friend mentioned that his older brother knew where to get pills, and soon Jake was buying them off the streets. But as his tolerance increased, the supply was never enough.

That’s when he tried his first and last dose of heroin.

Tragic stories like Jake’s have been rising steadily nationwide and in Mississippi, where opioid-related overdose deaths jumped 34% from 2020 to 2021, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health.

One way Mississippians can take action to protect their loved ones is by safely disposing of unneeded medications during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 22.

On April 22, DEA and its law enforcement partners will collect tablets, capsules, patches and other solid forms of prescription drugs at designated drop-off sites. Liquids (including intravenous solutions), syringes and other sharps, and illicit drugs will not be accepted. DEA will accept vaping devices and cartridges, provided lithium batteries are removed.

In Oxford, residents can bring their unused prescriptions to the Oxford Police Department from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Molly Barr Road.

The medications will be safely disposed of in a MedReturn lockbox.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that most people who misuse prescription medications obtained them from a friend or relative. 

A National Institutes of Health report says around 80% of people who used heroin first misused prescription opioids.

For more than a decade, the biannual Take Back Day has collected nearly 8,318 tons of drugs nationwide, with 34.7 tons collected in Mississippi.

Year-round receptacles also are available at pharmacies, hospitals, police departments and businesses.

Additionally, with the passage of the DUMP Opioids Act in 2021, the public may now use drop boxes at Veterans Administration medical centers to dispose of controlled substance prescription medications. Check with your local VA health facility for more information.

Staff report

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