Every six months, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) hosts the National Take-Back Initiative, an event to promote the safe disposal of prescription medications. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the April 25th Drug Take-Back Day has been postponed indefinitely. The DEA is hoping to reschedule this event soon after the COVID crisis has subsided and emergency restrictions across the U.S. have lifted.
National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is a serious public health initiative to help prevent drug abuse. On top of encouraging public safety, this event helps people dispose of prescription medications conveniently, safely, and responsibly.
While some people will sometimes flush extra medication, only a few specific medicines can be safely flushed as a method of disposal. Flushing drugs poses a number of safety hazards, and only a select handful of drugs advise consumers to flush extra medication.
The opioid epidemic has killed millions upon millions of Americans over the course of the years. Recovery Unplugged’s goal is to keep this crisis from escalating and endangering even more Americans, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At Recovery Unplugged, we deal daily with the victims of the opioid crisis and help them heal with the power of music. With addicts and those in recovery at increased risk of relapse and overdose, the postponement of Drug Take-Back Day can have serious consequences. Now more than ever we need the power of music to help those struggling with substance abuse and addiction.
Preventing Drug Diversion
Drug Take-Back Day was created to prevent prescription pill abuse and drug diversion from occurring. Drug diversion, or the unlawful redirection of regulated medications, most often occurs by giving drugs to a family member or friend.
Most medications that sit in cabinets at home after they’ve outlived their use are susceptible to drug diversion and misuse. The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that the majority of abused prescriptions came from the medicine cabinets of family and friends. According to one study of drug diversion, the drugs most commonly involved in drug diversion include benzodiazepines and opiates, both of which are deadly prescriptions when abused.
As a result of this diversion, the rates of prescription drug abuse and opioid abuse have consistently risen in the U.S. This also means that the number of overdoses and overdose fatalities have also risen significantly.
It’s for this reason that the DEA has been committed to the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative for an entire decade. The effort displays the DEA’s dedication to combating the rising rates of addiction and prescription substance abuse.
How Postponing Might Impact Those Struggling
If people can’t safely dispose of their medications, the truth is that the risk of overdose or relapse is heightened. This is especially true considering the current conditions due to COVID-19.
Due to the coronavirus, people across the globe are feeling more lonely and isolated from their communities than ever before. For vulnerable populations like those struggling with mental illnesses and substance use disorders, this isolation can be deadly.
During extraordinarily stressful moments, it’s easy to fall back on old habits, especially when the means are available. Those in these vulnerable populations who are stuck at home with medicine cabinets full of unused or expired medications are at increased risk.
Many people stuck in lockdown might have access to positive coping mechanisms like making music, writing, or taking care of a pet. However, those in early recovery or struggling with a dual diagnosis may suffer the most should they have access to narcotics or anti-anxiety prescription medications. While music, art, and meditation can mitigate this prospect, some people may not be able to resist a trip to the medicine cabinet.
How Recovery Unplugged Can Help Keep You Away from the Cabinet
If you or someone you love struggles with substance abuse and has access to a medicine cabinet, there are options to prevent drug diversion. Although the DEA’s Drug Take-Back Initiative might be postponed, there are permanent public disposal locations offered by the DEA.
On top of finding alternatives for drug disposal, it’s significant to consider your loved one’s mental state. If they’re in early recovery, acting as a support system and making sure they feel connected to the recovery community is critical to maintaining their sobriety.
Currently, Recovery Unplugged is hosting virtual alumni meetings and our very own Sober Sessions live streams to continue cultivating community. If you’ve been feeling lonely or isolated, you can join our music-based streams on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Recovery Unplugged is here to help you or your loved one fight off the possibility of relapse during COVID-19. With the healing power of music, we can get through this with even stronger bonds as a community.
If you’re not sure you can make it through the coronavirus crisis without relapsing, we’re here to help you. Recovery Unplugged is currently open and admitting clients while adhering to all CDC requirements.
Music is at the heart of what we do at Recovery Unplugged, and we want to help arm you with the coping mechanisms you need to combat addiction. Music is our medicine, and we want it to be yours too. Find out how music makes the difference by calling our admissions team today.