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 Baltimore County Officials Will Recognize National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

On Saturday, October 26, Baltimore County officials will recognize National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, a nationwide initiative organized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to highlight safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs in communities, while raising awareness about the disease of prescription drug addiction.

On National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, residents are encouraged to safely dispose of out unwanted or expired medications, including prescription opioids, such as Percocet, OxyContin or Vicodin, at predetermined, approved locations. The full list of approved sites is available at takebackday.dea.gov

We Have a Moral Imperative

“Each overdose death means the loss of a son, daughter, mother, father, brother, sister, neighbor and friend. We have a moral imperative to do everything within our power to respond to this devastating epidemic,” County Executive Olszewski said. “This day—and every day—is take back day in Baltimore County and we urge residents to dispose of their medications and help save lives.”

Rates of prescription drug misuse have been steadily increasing. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. Removing the presence of unwanted or unused prescription medications from the home helps ensure the safety of family and friends.

Year-round Prescription Return Boxes

Baltimore County has also introduced permanent, year-round prescription return boxes at 10 locations throughout the county to allow individuals to safely and anonymously return any expired or unused medication—with no questions asked. The drug drop boxes are located at:

  • Baltimore County Police Baltimore County Police Precinct 1 Wilkens - 901 Walker Avenue, 21228 
  • Baltimore County Police Precinct 2 Woodlawn - 6424 Windsor Mill Road, 21207
  • Baltimore County Police Precinct  3 Franklin - 606 Nicodemus Road, 21136 
  • Baltimore County Police Precinct 4 Pikesville - 215 Milford Mill Road, 21208
  • Baltimore County Police Precinct 6 Towson - 115 W. Susquehanna Avenue, 21204  
  • Baltimore County Police Precinct 7 Cockeysville - 111 Wight Avenue, 21030 
  • Baltimore County Police Precinct 8 Parkville - 8532 Old Harford Road, 21234
  • Baltimore County Police Precinct 9 White Marsh - 8220 Perry Hall Boulevard, 21236
  • Baltimore County Police Precinct 11 Essex - 216 North Marlyn Avenue, 21221 
  • Baltimore County Police Precinct 12 Dundalk – 428 Westham Way, 21224 

“I urge parents and guardians to take inventory of their medicine cabinet and secure all medications that are genuinely needed,” said Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, Director of the Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services. “When we don’t take these necessary precautions, we could inadvertently open the gateway to addiction.”

Statistics and Efforts

Baltimore County has the second highest number of overdose deaths in the state—in 2018, 348 people died from opioid-related overdoses, up from 323 in 2017.

The Olszewski Administration has made efforts to combat the opioid epidemic a priority including: 

  • Announcing the placement of overdose awareness signs around the County in an effort to shine light on the opioid epidemic and reduce the stigma often associated with the disease of addiction;
  • Appointing Baltimore County’s first Opioid Strategy Coordinator to spearhead efforts to address the crisis across the government; and
  • Convening the Baltimore County Opioid Response Working Group, who recently released its draft report (PDF), outlining 11 recommendations as the County continues its efforts to combat overdose deaths, expand access to treatment and prevent addiction.

“The impact of opioid abuse in our communities is significant. This day reminds all of us to reduce the possibility of our unused medication harming our family members or anyone else,” Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa R. Hyatt said.

CVS Plays an Active Role

CVS Health plays an active role nationally and locally in supporting safe medication disposal. This week, the company announced that all CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide will offer customers a free safe medication disposal option, beginning in 2020. The company will add 1,000 in-store safe medication disposal units to the more than 1,700 units currently in CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide, including in Baltimore County. It will also donate up to 400 additional units to local police departments across the country, in addition to the more than 990 units already donated to law enforcement. Together, the existing medication disposal units have collected more than 1.1 million pounds of unwanted or expired medications. 

Additionally, beginning next year, all CVS Pharmacy locations that do not offer a safe medication disposal kiosk will begin to offer DisposeRx® packets at no cost to patients filling an opioid prescription for the first time.

“Our Safe Medication Disposal efforts allow people to easily get rid of unneeded medications—including controlled substances—at CVS Pharmacy and other locations in their community, getting opioids out of medicine cabinets where they could be diverted or misused,” said Thomas Moriarty, Chief Policy and External Affairs Officer, CVS Health. “Providing more options for proper disposal of unused medications in our stores and in the home is just one of the ways we're working to help combat prescription opioid misuse and build healthier communities.”

“We’re proud to link arms with community leaders and local law enforcement to safeguard the health and well-being of our neighbors,” said Thomas B. Smyth, president and CEO of University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. “Our fervent hope is that, by making these designated safe drop boxes available to the community-at-large, we are helping area families avoid the physical trauma and the heartache associated with opioid overdose. One more overdose death is one more too many. We are called to help ‘Take Back’ our community’s health.”

If you or a loved one is suffering from an alcohol, tobacco or drug addiction, help is available. Call the Department of Health at 410-88-REACH (410-887-3224).


Every Day is Take Back Day in Baltimore County

Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, the Baltimore County Health Officer and Director of Health and Human Services, encourages residents to dispose of unused and expired medications at one of the ten designated drop-off locations throughout the County.

The U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration has declared Saturday, October 27, 2018 as National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and is encouraging the safe, convenient and responsible disposal of unused or expired prescription drugs. “Baltimore County is joining this national observance – and has established drug drop box locations throughout the county not just on October 27 but year-round, seven days a week, 24 hours a day,” said Dr. Branch. 

More than 70 percent of prescription drug abusers say that many of the drugs they use come directly from friends and relatives or from their medicine cabinets of friends and relatives. “I urge parents and guardians to take inventory of their medicine cabinet and secure all medications that are genuinely needed,” continued Dr. Branch. “When you don’t take the necessary precautions, your children or other family members could be one pill or teaspoon away from indulging in a prescription drug.”

The drug drop boxes are positioned at these ten police precinct locations throughout the county: 

  • Precinct 1 Wilkens - 901 Walker Avenue, 21228 
  • Precinct 2 Woodlawn - 6424 Windsor Mill Road, 21207
  • Precinct 3 Franklin - 606 Nicodemus Road, 21136 
  • Precinct 4 Pikesville - 215 Milford Mill Road, 21208
  • Precinct 6 Towson - 115 W. Susquehanna Avenue, 21204  
  • Precinct 7 Cockeysville - 111 Wight Avenue, 21030 
  • Precinct 8 Parkville - 8532 Old Harford Road, 21234
  • Precinct 9 White Marsh - 8220 Perry Hall Boulevard, 21236
  • Precinct 11 Essex - 216 North Marlyn Avenue, 21221 
  • Precinct 12 Dundalk – 428 Westham Way, 21224 

If you or a loved one is suffering from an alcohol, tobacco or drug (illegal or prescription) addiction, help is available. Call the Department of Health at 410-88-REACH (410-887-3224).


Drug Drop Boxes are Conveniently Located in all Baltimore County Police Precincts

You know how important it is to read the label on your prescription medication and to take it only as directed. But are you also aware of how important it is to properly dispose of medications that you are no longer using? Unused prescription drugs can find their way into the wrong hands – with dangerous and oftentimes tragic consequences.

To help bring attention to this crucial public safety and public health issue, the Baltimore County Department of Health is promoting the national Prescription Drug Take Back Day (Saturday, April 28, 2018) and are reminding county residents that there are Drug Drop Box Locations in police precincts throughout Baltimore County. While the national observance will occur on April 28, Baltimore residents are able to place their expired and unused prescriptions in drug drop boxes throughout the county year round - 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.4 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs – the majority of which were obtained directly from family and friends or by having access to the home medicine cabinets of family and friends. National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is a safe, convenient and responsible way to clean out your medicine cabinets and dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs and perhaps help prevent drug addiction and potential overdose deaths.

In addition to taking your unused medications to a drug drop box location, you may also dispose of them at home if no specific disposal instructions are given on the prescription drug labeling. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Remove the medicine from its original container and mix it with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or used kitty litter.
  2. Place the mixture in a sealable bag or container to prevent medicine from leaking out.
  3. Place the sealed bag or container in with your household trash.

Don’t forget to scratch out all identifying information on the prescription drug container to make it unreadable. This will help to protect your identity and maintain the privacy of your personal health information. 

By Gregory Wm. Branch, M.D. 
Director of Health and Human Services


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017