Year Off For Move Does Not Dampen NPD Drug Take Back Message
Newtown’s police department may not be participating in this year’s Prescription Drug Take Back Day activities October 24, but that does not mean they are dialing back concerns about the dangers of medications languishing in medicine cabinets and homes across the community.
The local department is just in the thick of transitioning to a new headquarters that is scheduled to be occupied and open by early November, so they are referring local residents to Take Back Day services in neighboring communities including Woodbury and Monroe, according to Sgt Jeff Silver.
“The Newtown Police Department believes that the DEA National Drug Take Back program is an important initiative, and we have participated in it for a number of years,” Silver said. “It offers a safe location to dispose of potentially hazardous substances and can help prevent overdoses and drug addictions.”
Silver pointed out that according to the US DEA’s website, the Danbury, Monroe, and New Fairfield police departments are some of the closest collection sites in the area. The Woodbury resident trooper’s office also has a disposal box at 281 Main Street South.
“You can consult the DEA’s Take Back website — takebackday.dea.gov — or contact your local pharmacy for [other] safe drop off locations,” Silver added. “Everyone is encouraged to safely dispose of unused medication in approved containers.”
The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue, the website states.
The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows 9.9 million Americans misused controlled prescription drug, and a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from home medicine cabinets.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in 2017, young adults ages 18-25 had the highest rates of misuse, with 14.4 percent reporting nonmedical use in the previous year. Locally, 30 percent of teens who completed a survey reported taking a prescription medication from a family member in 2018.
All medications can be harmful if they are misused, however opioids are extremely dangerous.
In 2019, there were 1,200 overdose deaths in Connecticut, up 18 percent from 2018. Of those, 94 percent involved opioids (both prescription and illicit); 82 percent involved fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid.
The data shows Connecticut is on a path for even more overdose deaths this year. Nationally, the October 2019 Drug Take Back Day collected 882,919 pounds — 441.5 tons — of unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs.