Southern Nevada Residents Encouraged to Clean Out Medicine Cabinets for January 20 Drug Take Back Day

The New Year offers an opportunity for Las Vegas area residents to clear their medicine cabinets of unused and expired prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Roseman University College of Pharmacy has joined the PACT Coalition, CARE Coalition, local law enforcement and other Southern Nevada partners to offer a community-wide drug take-back day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 20.

Unused and expired prescription and over-the-counter drugs may be dropped off anonymously and with no-questions-asked for safe disposal during the one-day, event at select locations valley wide:

Individuals dropping off unused and expired drugs are asked to back out names and addresses on the drug bottles before taking them to the event.

“We encourage all residents to look through their medicine cabinets and join us to safely dispose of any old or unneeded prescription and over-the-counter medications,” said Jamie Ross, executive director of the PACT Coalition. “We want to keep these medications from being misused, especially by our young people.”

The misuse and abuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs are, after marijuana and alcohol, the most commonly abused substances by Americans 14 and older.

A study published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported the classes of prescription drugs most commonly abused are: opioid pain relievers, such as Vicodin® or Oxycontin®; stimulants for treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), such as Adderall®, Concerta®, or Ritalin®; and central nervous system (CNS) depressants for relieving anxiety, such as Valium® or Xanax®. The most commonly abused OTC drugs are cough and cold remedies containing dextromethorphan.

“People often think that prescription and OTC drugs are safer than illicit drugs,” said Krystal Riccio, associate professor of pharmacy at Roseman University’s College of Pharmacy “However, they can be just as addictive and dangerous as illicit drugs and put users at risk for other adverse health effects, including overdose. The risk is more profound when taken along with other drugs or alcohol.”

Riccio adds, there are varying strengths, side effects and interactions to consider when taking medications that aren’t prescribed to you by a doctor or are simply misused. Tragically, the result can be great bodily harm or even death.

According to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, in addition to regularly cleaning out home medicine cabinets and safely disposing of unwanted drugs and medications, it is also critical that the public secure their current medications at home, so teens can’t access them, as well as keep track of quantities. It’s also important, especially for parents, to make certain that friends and relatives do the same.

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Media Contact:

Jason Roth