DEA Reminds Americans to Keep Medications Secure
DEA Announces Secure Your Meds Campaign
OMAHA, Neb. – The Omaha Division Drug Enforcement Administration is reminding people to secure prescription medications in an effort to avoid misuse, abuse and diversion during this time in which families are staying home over concerns of the Coronavirus pandemic.
In 2018, 67,367 people died from a drug overdose with nearly 70 percent of these deaths attributed to prescription or illicit opioids. The Secure Your Meds campaign, as announced by DEA, is raising awareness to prescription drug misuse, abuse and diversion, where medication is diverted away from its intended use or user. In addition, the campaign is asking people to secure their medications in a safe location out of reach of children and others in the home.
According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million people aged 12 or older misused pain relievers in the past year. Of this group, more than half of the people obtained the medication from a friend or relative.
“Simply put, overdose deaths from pharmaceutical medications account for 46 percent of all drug overdose deaths in the United States,” Omaha Division Special Agent in Charge Richard Salter Jr., said. “This is more than cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine. By safeguarding and properly disposing of unused medications we will save lives.”
The DEA hosts National Prescription Drug Take Back Day twice a year, however the current nationwide health crisis has forced the agency to postpone its spring event originally scheduled for April 25. DEA will reschedule Take Back Day for a date shortly after the health crisis recedes and national emergency guidelines are lifted. In the meantime, families should set aside expired, unwanted, or unused medicines in their home, secure them, and hold them for the next Take Back Day. Permanent drop off locations, if open, can be found on the DEA Take Back Day website (www.DEATakeBack.com), under the Collection Site Locator tab.
Families are encouraged to use this time together to discuss the dangers of misusing and abusing prescription medications. For resources to begin a conversation, visit www.operationprevention.com.
For more information on the Secure Your Meds campaign and Take Back Day, visit www.DEATakeBack.com.