October 24, 2011
Earlier this year, four people were murdered when a husband and wife addicted to painkillers robbed a pharmacy on Long Island. That event illustrated just how serious the “hidden” problem of prescription drug addiction has become.
Rates of prescription drug abuse in the US are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, the usual methods for disposing of unused medicines--flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash--both pose potential safety and health hazards.
Periodically, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) provides the public with an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Last April, Americans turned in 376,593 pounds—188 tons—of prescription drugs at nearly 5,400 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,000 state and local partners.
On October 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can bring your medications for disposal to one of 16 North Shore-LIJ Health System locations throughout Long Island and New York City. We encourage all to participate in this vital public safety and health issue. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.