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DEA launches Secure Your Meds campaign, calls on Americans to keep medications safe

Posted at 8:31 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 21:31:06-04

NEW ORLEANS -With families encouraged to stay at home due to the nationwide health crisis, the Drug Enforcement Administration is asking Americans to keep prescription medications safe and secure until they can properly dispose of them.

The Secure Your Meds awareness campaign addresses a vital public safety and health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. The campaign also prompts families to discuss the issue of controlled prescription drug abuse.

"Protecting the health and safety of our communities is DEA's top priority, especially during the unprecedented public health emergency," said DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon. "With Americans at home, families need to be even more vigilant and keep prescription medications safe, secure, and out of reach of children and others in the household."

"In this uncertain time, one thing we are certain of is how prescription drug abuse remains a serious health problem across the nation, with millions of Americans misusing medications every day. It is crucial for you to keep your prescription medications safe and secure until DEA's next Prescription Drug Take Back Day. We urge you to do your part to stop these dangerous drugs from getting into the wrong hands," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brad L. Byerley.

DEA holds its national Prescription Drug Take Back Day twice a year. However, because of the current nationwide coronavirus pandemic, DEA postponed the 2020 Spring Take Back Day, originally scheduled for April 25, 2020. DEA will reschedule Take Back day for a date shortly after the health crisis recedes and national emergency guidelines are lifted.

In the meantime, DEA wants to remind Americans to clean out their medicine cabinets and secure unused, unwanted, and expired prescription medications for the next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, on a date to be determined.

Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States 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.

Once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifts restrictions, DEA will reschedule Take Back Day. More information on the Secure Your Meds campaign and Take Back Day are available at www.DEATakeBack.com.

Parents and children are encouraged to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting DEA's interactive websites at www.JustThinkTwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.

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