“More people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record. The majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involve an opioid.1 And since 1999, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioid pain relieversand heroin) nearly quadrupled.2 From 2000 to 2014 nearly half a million people died from drug overdoses. 78 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
We now know that overdoses from prescription opioid pain relievers are a driving factor in the 15-year increase in opioid overdose deaths. Since 1999, the amount of prescription opioids sold in the U.S. nearly quadrupled,2 yet there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain that Americans report.3,4 Deaths from prescription opioids—drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone—have also quadrupled since 1999.” cdc.gov
SEATTLE, November 28, 2016 – The Washington Poison Center (WAPC) announced that it is now the owner and curator of the statewide medication return website, http://www.takebackyourmeds.org/ and its social media pages. In an effort to increase awareness and expand its use across Washington State, the WAPC will incorporate Take Back Your Meds into existing statewide education outreach programs and harm reduction efforts as well as future stewardship and growth.
Currently, pharmaceutical substances account for about half of all exposure calls to the Washington Poison Center, and poisoning/overdose remains the number one cause of unintentional death in Washington state and in the U.S.. “Handling over 35,000 drug cases annually and employing two full time public health educators based in Seattle and Spokane, the Take Back Your Meds program aligns with our mission to reduce the harm caused by poisonings. It is reinforced by existing programs, services, and education outreach WAPC delivers statewide to people of all ages,” said Washington Poison Center’s Medical & Executive Director, Dr. Erica Liebelt.
Takebackyourmeds.org helps Washington state residents locate pharmacy and law enforcement locations to dispose of their unused, unwanted, and/or expired medications. Eliminating excess medication from the home can reduce the potential for unintentional injury or misuse and abuse. Promoting secure medication takeback and safe medication disposal are vital components of an overall order by Governor Inslee to address the opioid crisis nationwide and here in Washington State.
Since taking ownership of the page, the WAPC has updated the website content to include an interactive map of take back location, allowing Washingtonians to quickly locate medication return sites near them. This map also differentiates between locations that accept controlled and non-controlled substances. In addition, the site includes tips on safe storage and disposal.
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