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April 25, 2017

Pa. residents urged to participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Do you have unwanted prescription drugs in your medicine cabinet or drawers? Pennsylvania officials reminded residents this week about a national effort to safely dispose medication at secure locations.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced Tuesday nearly 600 facilities throughout the state will participate in the annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day to combat the opioid epidemic. This year's event will occur Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The service, which is free and anonymous, helps residents clear their homes of potentially dangerous drugs that could be abused or stolen.

“Drug Take-Back Day addresses a vital public safety and public health issue and I encourage all Pennsylvanians to check their homes for unwanted and unneeded drugs that they could turn in at a drug take-back box,” said Wolf, whose administration has prioritized measures to curb drug addiction.

There are dozens of locations in Philadelphia and dozens more in the surrounding suburbs. Most are located in law enforcement buildings, but some pharmacies, fire stations and other state offices are options too.

The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Drug Enforcement Administration list drop-off locations online.

Last year, more than 62 tons - 124,335 pounds to be exact - of unwanted prescription drugs were collected and destroyed in Pennsylvania alone.

“Pennsylvania has an opioid epidemic; one in four families is affected,” said Jennifer Smith, acting secretary of DDAP. “National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is a great way to encourage people to get opioids and other unused medications out of circulation, and to bring attention to this crisis."

Although the number of deaths in Pennsylvania due to opioid overdose in 2016 has yet to be determined, state officials expect an increase from the 3,500 reported deaths in 2015.