HOWELL – Over 73 pounds of unwanted medications were collected during this year’s National DEA Drug Take-Back day.
This year, National DEA Drug Take-Back day was held on October 24 at the Howell Walmart. The Howell Alliance in collaboration with the Howell Police Department and the Howell community came together to collect any unused or unwanted medications.
“The National DEA Take-Back takes place twice a year. The Alliance and Howell Police usually hold the take-backs at Howell Police headquarters, but this year, Walmart reached out to partner. Having it there led to much more visibility for us, and we will look to collaborate in this way again for future take-backs,” said Christa Riddle, the Howell Township Municipal Alliance coordinator.
The goal of Drug Take-Back day is to properly dispose of medications in order to save lives from accidental poisonings, medication misuse/overdoses, and substance use disorders. With the COVID-19 pandemic increasing emotional, mental, social, and financial stress on individuals, the Howell Alliance wants to remind the community how to properly dispose medication.
According to a 2013-2014 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 50.5 percent of those who misused prescription pain relievers in the past year said they obtained the misused prescription pain relievers from a friend or relative for free.
“This is a time of increased uncertainty, stress, and anxiety on many levels for many people. COVID-19 is and will be taking a toll on people’s mental well-being and can present an extra difficult time for those already in recovery from substance use and mental health disorders,” Riddle said. “More time at home can provide convenient access to the family medicine cabinet and household members’ prescriptions at a point in life when people are mentally more vulnerable. During COVID-19, there has also been an increase in anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, and sleep-aid prescriptions.”
A recent study done by Express Scripts’ “America’s State of Mind Report” stated there was a 21 percent increase in anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, and sleep-aid prescriptions between February 16 and March 15, with 78 percent representing new prescriptions (anti-anxiety prescriptions rose 34.1 percent, anti-depressant prescriptions rose 18.6 percent and sleep-aid prescriptions rose 14.8 percent.)
The Howell Alliance holds an unwanted, unused medication initiative year-round through the Project Medicine Drop program. In collaboration with the Howell Police Department, they distribute disposal envelopes as reminders to residents. The program includes DisposeRx, which is a free at-home disposal packet and at-home pick-up that residents can use as a contactless way to get rid of unwanted medication.
If you would like to dispose of medications anonymously, you can drop them off at the 24/7 Project Medicine Drop box at Howell Police headquarters, 300 Old Tavern Road, or call the Howell Police for at-home police pick-up of unwanted medications (their non-emergency number is 732-938-4111).
If you would like to pick up free DisposeRx packets, you can through contactless distribution outside the front entrance of the Howell Township Municipal Building, 4567 Route 9 North. Contact the Howell Township Municipal Alliance Coordinator Christa Riddle at 732-938-4500 ext. 4012 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.