Take Back Day

Preventing prescription drug abuse starts with the disposal of potentially dangerous, unused, expired or unwanted drugs from homes. On Oct. 26, Utahns are encouraged to participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. 

We typically don’t think of our own medicine cabinets when it comes to addressing prescription drug abuse, but it’s precisely what makes participating in Take Back Day so important. Too often, what may begin as innocuously taking prescription drugs for pain management turns into dependence and abuse. Based on the results of the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs, with the majority of those prescription drugs being obtained from the homes of friends and family. 

According to the Utah Department of Health, our state has seen a significant increase in cases of opioid misuse, overdose and death since 2000. Utah has, unfortunately, consistently ranked top 10 in the nation for overdose deaths in the last decade. Additionally, drug overdose deaths are the leading cause of accidental death, surpassing deaths caused by firearms, falls and motor vehicle crashes. 

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that opioid overdose deaths are highest in Carbon, Emery, Duchesne, Juab, Weber, Salt Lake and Tooele counties. Rates of death in these counties have been found to be even higher than the state average of 20.3 deaths per 100,000 individuals. 

Addressing Utah’s opioid epidemic begins in our homes. By disposing of your unused prescription drugs at select collection sites on Saturday, Oct. 26, you can do your part in lowering the chances of drug abuse and overdose. Over our last three years of participating in Take Back Day, Utah has collected more than 90,000 pounds of medication. Temporary and permanent collection sites statewide, as well as additional information and statistics about National Take Back Day, can be found here.



Gregory Johnson