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Prescription Drug "Take Back Day" is April 30


Be the Solution: National Take Back Day is April 30

The abuse of prescription drugs has become epidemic. This is not just an issue that is happening to someone else, somewhere else, it is here in our northern Michigan communities. It is killing our children AND our senior adults. Though prescription drug abuse profoundly affects people ages 16 to 26, the fastest growing group of prescription drug addicts are our older adults and senior citizens. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the number of baby boomers with substance abuse problems will double from 2.5 million in 1999 to over 5 million in 2020.

Though alcohol remains the most abused substance among older folks, prescription drug abuse is rising. Treatment facility admissions for those age 50 and up more than doubled for heroin abuse from 1992 to 2008. Opium based pain killers like Vicodin, Oxycontin and morphine can often be the starting point on the path to heroin abuse. As the popularity of these painkillers has soared, so have drug overdose deaths, which are now the leading cause of accidental deaths in Michigan, ahead of car accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those ages 45 to 54 are the most likely to die.

Through its Prevention Services Program, Catholic Human Services (CHS), is working hard to help change these facts. CHS is part of consortium led by Northern Michigan Substance Abuse Services that is working together to bring awareness to the issues of prescription drug abuse and how we can all be a part of the solution by being careful about how we store and dispose of our prescription drugs.

Everyone has the right to legal prescriptions medication but with that right lies a huge responsibility. First is the responsibility to keep these drugs safe, locked away from loved ones and care givers. Most of us keep our medications in the bathroom medicine cabinet or the kitchen cupboards making it extremely easy for anyone to get to. Second is the responsibility to know what and why you were prescribed each medication, how it affects your body and brain, proper dosages, and how it interacts with other medications. Third is the responsibility to dispose of unused prescription medications properly.

So how can you “Be the Solution” to this growing problem?

  • Lock up your medications; keep them in a safe place only you know.
  • Do not share your medications.
  • Become empowered; know what you are taking and why.
  • Discuss alternative, non-narcotic medications with your doctor.
  • Dispose of unused medications properly, do not flush!
  • Take advantage of the Yellow Jugs, Old Drugs programs at participating pharmacies in your community.

In addition, Catholic Human Services, along with other agencies and local law enforcement, have set up additional drop off facilities as part of the second national “Take Back Day” where medications may be disposed of -- with no questions asked -- on Saturday, April 30, 2011. Click on the link below for a listing of drop off sites near you.

Catholic Human Services has offices in virtually every county in northern lower Michigan and staff are eager to speak with parish groups, schools, K of C Councils or any other local community groups regarding the topic of prescription drug abuse. To schedule a presentation in your parish or community, contact Prevention Specialist Kara Steinke at 989.356.6385.

For more information on the topic of prescription drug abuse or National “Take Back Day,” visit or Additional tips on proper disposal of unused medications may be found at

File: Take Back Day Locations

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