Storage and Disposal
Opioid abuse has reached epidemic proportions both nationally and in Virginia. Overdoses from heroin and other opioids are now killing more than 27,000 a year. Since the year 2000 deaths from prescription drug overdoses have more than doubled and deaths from heroin overdoses have doubled in just the past two years. This disturbing trend has put a strain on communities, health care professionals, and law enforcement. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to prescription drug abuse. Young adults (18-25) abuse prescription drugs at the highest rate and use them for non-prescribed reasons. 1 in 4 teens now report misusing or abusing prescription drugs- a 33% increase in the past 5 years. Additionally, over 2/3 of people (over 12) who abuse prescription medications report that they obtained the medicine from a family member or friend for free.
To combat this growing problem, Governor McAuliffe convened the Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse Task Force in the fall of 2014. For a recap of task force meetings and implementation plan, visit the task force website. The Task Force’s storage and disposal workgroup confirmed that “storing prescription drugs in a secure manner and disposing of them properly when no longer medically needed will reduce the opportunity for abuse or misuse of prescription drugs and the potentially harmful effects on the environment.” To aid in the secure storing and proper disposal of prescription drugs, the workgroup made several recommendations to Task Force. One recommendation included updating the Office of the Attorney General’s guide to Hosting A Successful Prescription Drug Take-Back Event. Updated in 2015, this document details the need for drug take backs and navigates communities and law enforcement on how to set up and properly facilitate a drug take back event.
This section of the website will provide law enforcement, community members, schools, parents, and others with facts about storage and disposal, resources for storage and disposal, and news regarding storage and disposal.
If you have unused, expired, or unwanted medications and need a way to safely dispose of them, you can now get a drug disposal bag from your Local Health Department. Learn more about how to safely dispose of medications.