The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is launching a new campaign that urges the public to “Secure Your Meds” as part of its effort to reduce drug misuse and overdose.
The administration hopes the campaign will remind Americans to clean out their medicine cabinets and secure unused medications to address the issue of misuse of controlled prescription drugs.
The campaign’s goal is to raise awareness about being responsible for keeping prescription and other drugs securely stored. Medications that have expired, or are no longer being used, can be disposed of at one of the 11,0000 authorized, year-round collection sites, the DEA said, or until the next DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
Until then, the agency said, it was up to individuals to store medicines securely.
“It’s vitally important that we secure our meds during the holiday season, with family and friends coming and going during the holidays, the risk of medications ending up in the wrong hands is especially high,” said Deanne Reuter, DEA Denver Field Division Special Agent in Charge.
Medicines not securely stored are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse, the agency said. Rates of prescription drug abuse, accidental poisonings, and overdoses due to unsecured prescription drugs are alarmingly high, the DEA said. Research indicates that most abused and misused prescription drugs come from the home medicine cabinets of family and friends.