~ Attorney General Herring encourages Virginians to dispose of unused prescriptions, especially opioids, at one of many drop-off sites ~
RICHMOND, Va. – Attorney General Mark R. Herring is encouraging all Virginians with unused or expired medications in their home to take advantage of DEA Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday, October 22. Law enforcement agencies and community partners at dozens of locations throughout the Commonwealth will be accepting unused or expired medications for proper disposal before they can be misused, abused or accidentally ingested. Take-back locations will be located throughout the Commonwealth and you can find a site near you by searching here.
“Keeping unused prescriptions around the house increases the likelihood that they will eventually be misused or abused, or even accidentally ingested by a child or grandchild,” said Attorney General Herring. “Prescription opioids are especially powerful medications that can easily lead to dependence, abuse of harder drugs like heroin or fentanyl, or even lead to a fatal overdose. Drug Take-Back Day only comes around once a year, so I encourage all Virginians to take advantage of Saturday’s collection locations so we can get these pills out of the cabinets before they wind up on the streets. It’s a simple thing that can go a long way in making our homes and communities safer and in helping Virginians live a drug free life.”
There is a strong link between misuse of prescription opioids, opioid addiction and even later use of heroin once prescriptions become too expensive or are no longer accessible. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
- Half of young people who used heroin got started by abusing prescription opioids.
- One in fifteen individuals who misuse prescription opioid painkillers will try heroin within 10 years.
- The number of opioid prescriptions has nearly tripled over the last 25 years, and the United States now accounts for nearly 100 percent of the world’s hydrocodone prescriptions and 81 percent for oxycodone.
- The number of Americans abusing heroin nearly doubled from 2007 to 2012, with nearly 700,000 now abusing heroin.
In Virginia, abuse and overdose deaths continue to rise:
- Prescription opioid overdose deaths have risen 44 percent between 2007 and 2015, from 399 deaths to 576.
- Heroin overdose deaths have risen more than 600 percent between 2010 and 2015, from 48 to 342.
- Fentanyl deaths have risen 367 percent from 2007 to 2015, from 48 to 224.
- More than 500 people went to a Virginia emergency room from a heroin overdose in the first four months of 2016, a 250% increase over 2015.
Attorney General Herring recently secured a donation of 80,000 drug deactivation kits that will help Virginians disposed of 3.6 million pills of unused medication throughout the year when a prescription drug take-back program is not available. He has made combating the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic a top priority, attacking the problem with a multifaceted approach that includes enforcement, education, prevention and legislation to encourage reporting of overdoses in progress, expand the availability of naloxone, and expand access to the Prescription Monitoring Program. He has supported federal efforts to improve the availability of treatment and recovery resources and recently partnered with U.S. Attorney Dana Boente to create the Hampton Roads Heroin Working Group to develop holistic, community-driven solutions to the heroin and opioid crisis.