Stanford Physicians Urge Patients To Turn In Old Pills Support National Take Back Prescription Drugs Day on Saturday, April 28

April 26, 2012

Media Contact: Linda Apeles, 650.725.6625, lapeles@stanfordmed.org

STANFORD, Calif. In support of National Take Back Prescriptions Drugs Day on Saturday, April 28, physicians in the Pain Management Division at Stanford Hospital & Clinics are urging patients to help prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Doctors are encouraging patients to bring their old medications for disposal at designated “Take Back” collection sites around the Bay Area.

“Storing unwanted prescription drugs at home or disposing of them in the trash or down the toilet may seem harmless, but the reality is that by doing so you could be putting the health of your family at risk and potentially releasing hazardous chemicals into our environment,” said Sean Mackey, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Pain Management Division at Stanford Hospital and associate professor of anesthesia at Stanford University School of Medicine. “I urge all patients to put safety first by taking their old drugs to their nearest collection site.”

Organized by the Drug Enforcement Agency in partnership with state and local law enforcement agencies, the service is free and anonymous—no questions asked. The public can find a nearby collection site by visiting www.dea.gov, clicking on the “Got Drugs?” icon and following the links to a database, where they enter their zip code.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.

Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. “Teenagers and young adults are some of the most vulnerable to the dangers of drug abuse”, said Meredith Barad, M.D., a Stanford Pain Management physician. “By taking unused prescription drugs out of the medicine cabinets, we are reducing exposure and thereby reducing the risks of addiction.”

In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

Last October, Americans turned in 377,080 pounds—188.5 tons—of prescription drugs at over 5,300 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,000 state and local law enforcement partners.  In its three previous Take Back events, the DEA and its partners took in almost 1 million pounds—nearly 500 tons—of pills. 

In the Stanford/Palo Alto and surrounding areas, collection sites will be provided on April 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through these local agencies at the following locations:

Agency: East Palo Alto Police Department     

Collection Site: Best Buy, 1751 East Bayshore Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303        

Agency: City Of Mountain View Police/Fire Depts.    

Collection Site: City Of Mountain View Police/Fire Administration, 1000 Villa Street, Mountain View, CA 94041

Agency: Redwood City Police Department    

Collection Site: Redwood City Police Department, 1301 Maple St., Redwood City, CA 94061        

Agency: Santa Clara County Sheriff Office   

Collection Site: Sheriff's West Valley Substation, 1601 S. De Anza Blvd, Cupertino, CA 95014

About Stanford Hospital & Clinics
Stanford Hospital & Clinics is known worldwide for advanced treatment of complex disorders in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer treatment, neurosciences, surgery, and organ transplants. It is currently ranked in the top 20 on the U.S. News & World Report’s "America's Best Hospitals" list and No. 1 in the San Jose Metropolitan area.  Stanford Hospital & Clinics is internationally recognized for translating medical breakthroughs into the care of patients.  The Stanford University Medical Center is comprised of three world renowned institutions: Stanford Hospital & Clinics, the Stanford University School of Medicine, the oldest medical school in the Western United States, and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, an adjacent pediatric and obstetric teaching hospital providing general acute and tertiary care. For more information, visit http://stanfordhospital.org/.

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