Later this week, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) are sponsoring the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The event is designed to give people a safe way to dispose of prescription drugs. And there will be local drop-off spots around the country.
This year, the agencies have decided to accept vaping products as part of the take back day. In many ways, this decision is a response to the growing rates of youth vaping. Even more pressing, it is a response to the recent spike in vaping-related lung injury, illness, and death.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day 2019
The take back day is administered through the Diversion Control Division of the DOJ and DEA.
As per the official website, the event “aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.”
Prescription Drug Take Back Day will take place on Oct. 26. It will run from 10am until 2 pm. To find your nearest drop-off location, check out the DOJ’s website.
At these locations, you can drop off any old, unused, or unwanted prescription drugs. And this year, you can also dispose of vaping products.
“For the first time, DEA will now accept vaping devices and cartridges at any of its drop off locations during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day,” the agency said in a statement.
However, the DEA noted that not all vaping products will be accepted. Specifically, drop off locations will not take anything with a lithium-ion battery.
If you have a vaping product with this type of battery, the agency said you should check with local stores for the best way to dispose of them.
Responding to Public Health Concerns
The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is largely a response to multiple public health concerns.
First off, it is a way to address the ongoing, years-long opioid epidemic. Specifically, the agencies sponsoring the event see it as a way to educate people about the abuse of opioids and other prescription drugs.
Additionally, it is a way to help people get rid of harmful and potentially addictive pills.
And with the addition of vaping products to this year’s event, the day is also a response to new concerns about vaping.
“Concerns have been raised across the United States over illnesses and death caused by vaping and the high youth vaping initiation rates,” the DEA said in its statement. “In an effort to support a healthy lifestyle and energetic population, especially among America’s youth, DEA is committed to doing all it can to help safely dispose of vaping devices and substances.”
This year has seen a sharp uptick in health concerns related to vaping. Specifically, multiple people have died from complications related to vaping. And even more have sustained lung injuries.
So far, it’s unclear exactly what is causing the harm. But one recent report suggested that illegal knockoff THC cartridges could be a main culprit. Specifically, experts think that Vitamin E could be to blame.