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Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday in St. Johnsbury

by | Apr 19, 2021 | In the News

ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. (April 19, 2021) – In an effort to reduce prescription drug misuse and related overdose deaths, community partners will team up with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and with assistance from the St. Johnsbury Police Department and the Caledonia Sheriff, to host a Take-Back Day from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on April 24 at two local sites: the Caledonia County Sheriff Department (970 Memorial Dr., St. Johnsbury) and the St. Johnsbury Police Department (1187 Main St #1, St. Johnsbury).

To keep everyone safe, collection sites will follow local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations. 

Take-Back Day provides a free, safe and convenient way to dispose of prescription drugs. Individuals may anonymously and safely drop off any unused or expired prescription and over-the-counter medication, as well as pet medication, at the abovementioned locations. Sites cannot accept liquids, needles or sharps, only pills or patches.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. has seen an increase in overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 83,544 Americans overdosing during the 12-month period ending July 1, 2020, the most ever recorded in a 12-month period. The increase in drug overdose deaths appeared to begin prior to the COVID-19 health emergency, but accelerated significantly during the first months of the pandemic.

“Drug Take-Back day provides a free and anonymous, no-questions-asked opportunity to dispose of unused and expired prescription drugs,” NVRH Substance Misuse Prevention Coordinator Christina Plazek said. “Please, join us in making our community a safer place for everyone.”

At its last Take Back Day in October, the DEA collected a record-high amount of expired, unwanted and unused prescription medications, with the public turning in close to 500 tons of unwanted drugs. Over the 10-year span of Take Back Day, the DEA has brought in more than 6,800 tons of prescription drugs. With studies indicating a majority of abused prescription drugs come from family and friends, including from home medicine cabinets, clearing out unused medicine is essential.

In addition to this event, there are permanent drug take-back boxes available year-round for people to dispose of unused prescription drugs at the following locations:

Caledonia County Sheriff’s Department – Monday – Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Essex County Sheriff’s Department – Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Lyndonville Police Department – Tuesday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.; by appointment
NVRH Emergency Room – 24/7
St. Johnsbury Police Department – 24/7

Individuals may also use drug mail-back envelopes, available through the Vermont Department of Health, to responsibly dispose of medications. Illegal drugs, cosmetics, vitamins/supplements, thermometers, aerosol cans, inhalers, needles and lotions/liquids are not accepted at the prescription take-back box locations.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the October 24 Take-Back Day event, go to www.DEATakeBack.com or contact Christina Plazek NVRH Substance Misuse Prevention Coordinator at c.plazek@nvrh.org. or 802-748-7551.

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