Baltimore, MD (October 27, 2011) Governor Martin O’Malley has proclaimed October 29-30, 2011, “Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Weekend,” during which the State will partner with the Drug Enforcement Administration for the 2011 National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The event will provide a venue for persons who want to dispose of unwanted and unused prescription drugs in order to help reduce the potential supply of these drugs for non-medical use.

“Preventing the abuse of prescription drugs – one of the fastest growing drug problems in Maryland – is a big part of our strategy to protect our families,” said Governor O’Malley. “We encourage all Marylanders to clean out their medicine cabinets and check on loved ones and neighbors battling addiction. Together, we can educate every community in our State about the damaging effects of abuse and provide the knowledge that is essential to the health and well-being of our people.”

Prescription drug take back programs help address a vital public safety and public health issue. Between 2007 and 2010, the percentage of prescription drug-related admissions to Maryland Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration-funded treatment programs nearly doubled, accounting for about 1 in 5 admissions in 2010. Each day, approximately, 2,500 teens nationwide use prescription drugs to get high for the first time, according to the Partnership for a Drug Free America. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including the home medicine cabinet.

On May 10, 2011, Governor O’Malley signed legislation to create a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) in Maryland. The PDMP, housed in the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), will require the electronic reporting of all Schedule II-V Controlled Dangerous Substances dispensed pursuant to a prescription. Registered prescribers and dispensers will be able to obtain prescription background information through a secure electronic system at the time a prescription is written and filled. “The PDMP, along with programs like Drug Take Back Day, will allow us to more comprehensively address the critical public health problem of prescription drug abuse,” said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Secretary of DHMH.

MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society, has spearheaded a Safe Disposal of Medicine Campaign to raise public awareness of the importance of timely and proper disposal of unneeded and expired medication. “Children are twice as likely to be poisoned by medication as by household cleaners. Prescription medications are second only to marijuana as a cause of drug abuse. Proper disposal of all unwanted medication helps prevent opportunities for abuse, and also protects the environment by keeping medication out of our waterways,” said Michele Kalish, Past President of the MedChi Alliance.

In addition to the Maryland’s partnership with the DEA in the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, a number of Counties throughout the State have begun to accept prescription drugs as part of their household hazardous waste collections programs and events.

For more information or to find a Take Back location near you, please visit DEA's website at http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html. More information about the PDMP can be found at http://www.maryland-adaa.org/pdmp.html.


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