U.S. Senator Tom Udall encourages New Mexicans to participate in the 10th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday, September 26, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. MT, and to return unwanted, unneeded or expired prescriptions for safe disposal.
The event is sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and provides free anonymous drop-off sites throughout the state for New Mexicans to safely dispose of unwanted medications. Residents can search online by county, city or zip code for the collection site nearest them by clicking here or calling 1-800-882-9539.
Prescription drug abuse and misuse pose serious health and law enforcement issues for New Mexico communities. Udall continues to work to create more ongoing opportunities for safe drug disposal, and has introduced legislation to increase the safety of prescription drug use.
“Prescription drug abuse is a growing epidemic nationally, and while we’ve taken strong steps to combat this abuse in New Mexico, we must keep up the fight,” Udall said. “Many who abuse prescription pain relievers get them from friends or relatives, and teens are particularly susceptible to thinking that prescription drugs are less dangerous than illicit drugs because they’re prescribed by a doctor. Events like Prescription Drug Take-Back Days are helping New Mexicans protect their families and loved ones from the threat of abuse. I encourage everyone to take advantage of Saturday’s Take-Back event. It’s an opportunity to safely clean out medicine cabinets, helping keep unused or expired prescriptions out of our water systems – and most importantly, out of the hands of our children.”
Udall introduced legislation earlier this year to combat prescription drug abuse and misuse. His Increasing the Safety of Prescription Drug Use Act would expand access to treatment options for addicted patients, strengthen training for medical professionals, and increase abuse prevention opportunities. Importantly, the bill would help medical professionals avoid overprescribing medication to patients by giving them access to real-time prescription databases across state lines. The bill would also help make it easier to dispose of unused prescription medications as often and safely as possible, especially in rural communities.
According to the DEA, more than 4.8 million pounds of drugs have been collected during the previous nine national Take-Back events from 2010-2014.