Delawareans now have more options when it comes to keeping their unused medications out of the wrong hands.
In the last year, seven new permanent prescription drug drop boxes have been added to the state’s existing locations, boosting the statewide count to 28. The drop boxes are available year-round.
There are 11 permanent drop box sites in Sussex County, seven in Kent County and 10 in New Castle County. Statewide, there are prescription drug drop boxes inside 10 pharmacies and one behavioral health center; the remainder are located in the lobbies of town or city police agencies. Disposing of unused medications at safe drop-box sites can save lives and, in many cases, can prevent addiction before it even begins.
“Now more than ever, while people are spending more time at home and are facing a great amount of stress, it is important to properly dispose of unwanted medications,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, Division of Public Health director. “Studies show that most opioid addictions start with a prescription. These same studies show us that more than half of the people who misused these prescriptions received them from a friend or family member. You can save lives by simply taking your unused medications to a secure drop-box location.”
According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, prescription pain reliever misuse was the second most common form of illicit drug use in the United States. Other studies show that prescription drugs such as benzodiazepines, often used for anxiety, and stimulants also are also frequently misused.
More than half of the people who misused pain relievers obtained them from a friend or family member, according to the report Key Substance Use and Mental Health in The United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
The need to secure opioid prescription medication is even more pressing in Delaware because it has the highest rate of high-dose and long-acting/extended-release opioid prescriptions written in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Medical providers have written 60.6 opioid prescriptions for every 100 Delaware residents, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Delaware also has the second-highest rate of overdose deaths in the nation, according to the CDC. In 2018, 400 people died from drug overdoses in Delaware, according to the Delaware Division of Forensic Science. As of Oct. 2, 276 people are suspected to have died from drug overdoses in Delaware, according to the Delaware Division of Forensic Science.
Properly discarding prescription medications at secure drop-box locations – particularly opioid prescriptions – can keep these medications from being stolen, misused, or discovered by small children and animals who may accidentally be poisoned by them.
Proper disposal at drop-box locations also protects Delaware’s groundwater from contamination that occurs when medications are flushed down the toilet.
Permanent prescription drug drop box locations in Sussex County are listed here. Check in with each location before taking medications to dispose of, as some have implemented COVID-19-related restrictions.
- Walgreens, 17239 Five Points Square, Lewes
- Walgreens, 22898 Sussex Highway, Seaford
- CVS Pharmacy, 17229 N. Village Main Blvd., Lewes
- SUN Behavioral Health Delaware, 21655 Biden Ave., Georgetown
- Selbyville Police Department, 68 W. Church St., Selbyville
- Greenwood Police Department, 100 W. Market St., Greenwood
- Ocean View Police Department, 201 Central Ave., Ocean View
- Georgetown Police Department, 335 N. Race St., Georgetown
- Laurel Police Department, 205 Mechanic St., Laurel
- Delmar Police Department, 400 S. Pennsylvania Ave. Delmar
- Millsboro Police Department, 307 Main St., Millsboro, DE 19966.
For more information on addiction recognition, prevention and treatment, go to helpisherede.com.