April 28 is National Drug Take-Back Day; three Kentuckians die each day from prescription drug abuse

April 28 is National Drug Take-Back Day, with Kentuckians encouraged to dispose of the expired, unused and unwanted drugs in their medicine cabinet at locations set up by law enforcement across the state. The national effort comes on the heels of Kentucky legislators passing a bill Friday evening aimed at curbing prescription drug abuse.

Dozens of sites will be set up across the state and will accept medication from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. To find a disposal location nearby, click here.

“Prescription drug abuse is the most urgent substance abuse issue facing Kentucky — one that kills nearly three Kentuckians every day — and we know that number is woefully underreported,” Gov. Steve Beshear said in a statement. “We can’t stress enough that medications, once they are no longer needed for their prescribed purposes, should be disposed of properly to reduce their risk of being diverted and abused.”

A national survey found that 70 percent of people aged 12 and over who took prescription drugs for non-prescribed reasons got the drugs from a friend or relative. That includes raiding their medicine cabinets.

Disposing of the drugs properly is also important since some medications, if just flushed or thrown in the garbage, can leach into the water table and contaminate the water supply.

Since take-back days started being hosted by law enforcement, 500 tons of medication at more than 5,300 sites have been disposed of nationwide, though a recent poll found 2 out of 3 Kentuckians still dispose of their medication improperly.

House Bill 1, which passed Friday, left the state’s prescription drug-monitoring system under the control of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the doctor-controlled Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure rather than move it to the attorney general’s office. It will require doctors and pharmacists who prescribe or dispense Schedule II and III drugs, such as oxycodone and morphine, to use the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting System. Only about 25 percent of Kentucky physicians now use KASPER.

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