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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 25, 2017

DHEC Encourages Disposal of Unused Prescription Drugs on Take Back Day on October 28

[COLUMBIA, SC] Prescription opioid overdoses were involved in the deaths of 550 South Carolinians in 2016, underscoring the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

On October 28, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging citizens to drop off unused, expired, or unwanted prescription drugs at locations around the state participating in the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Participating law enforcement agencies and locations can be found on the DHEC website.

Held twice a year, this national observance aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of prescription drugs, while educating the public about the potential for abuse of medication.

“Medicines that just sit in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse,” said Shelly Kelly, DHEC’s Director of Health Regulations. “Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained – often unknowingly – from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.”

The take-back programs help reduce childhood overdoses, restrict household drug theft, limit the accumulation of drugs by the elderly, protect our physical environment, reduce pharmaceutical contamination of fresh water, and eliminate waste.

The DEA can only accept pills or patches, not accept liquids, needles, or sharps. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Last April Americans turned in 450 tons (900,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at almost 5,500 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,200 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 13 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 8.1 million pounds—more than 4,050 tons—of pills.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the October 28 Take Back Day event, go to the DEA Diversion website. For more information on how DHEC is fighting prescription drug abuse, visit DHEC’s Live Healthy blog.

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DHEC Media Relations
media@dhec.sc.gov
(803) 898-7769