PHARMACY

DEA collects record amount of meds at National Rx Take-Back-Day

BY David Salazar
WASHINGTON — Americans turned in a record number of unused prescription drugs last weekend, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. The DEA on Monday said  the most recent National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day brought in the most unused prescription medications of any of its previous 10 events held since the initiative launched in 2010. 
 
All told, the DEA alongside state, local, tribal and local law enforcement collected 893,498 pounds of medications across nearly 5,400 collection sites in all 50 states. The 447 tons collected tops the 390 tons seen in spring 2014. The state with the highest number of medication collected was Texas, which collected 40 tons, followed by California’s 32 tons. Wisconsin, Illinois and Massachusetts also made the top five collection states, bringing in 31, 24 and 24 tons, respectively. 
 
“These results show that more Americans than ever are taking the important step of cleaning out their medicine cabinets and making homes safe from potential prescription drug abuse or theft,” DEA acting administrator Chuck Rosenberg said. “Unwanted, expired or unused prescription medications are often an unintended catalyst for addiction. Take-Back events like these raise awareness of the opioid epidemic and offer the public a safe and anonymous way to help prevent substance abuse.”
 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, eight-in-10 heroin users started by abusing prescription painkillers, moving to heroin when the stopped being able to afford or obtain them, and a majority of prescription drug abusers say they get their drugs from friends and family. 
 
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NACDS Foundation launches Zika prevention campaign in Puerto Rico

BY David Salazar
ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation on Friday announced that it would be rolling out a radio and online Zika Virus prevention campaign on May 9. The initiative is aimed at encouraging women to speak to physicians and pharmacists about how to protect themselves and their unborn children from the effects of Zika, which include microcephaly in children or loss of pregnancy.  
 
“The NACDS Foundation is taking this action to help address an imminent public health need, by helping to educate and empower women in Puerto Rico about where they can turn to help protect themselves and their unborn children,” said Kathleen Jaeger, president of the NACDS Foundation. “We are actively seeking additional partners to sustain this initiative while the need remains, and to complement the work of all those in the public health community who are standing with the people affected by this situation.”
 
The NACDS Foundation typically focuses on fostering evidence-based research through strategic partnerships and decided to assist in Zika prevention education after discussions with public health authorities. It plans to leverage the effort by looking for additional partners to extend the campaign’s life for a year, or as needed. 
 
“I personally appreciate this meaningful work to help the people of Puerto Rico address a public health situation facing this generation and generations to come,” Puerto Rico governor Luis Fortuño said. “At times like this, the needs are great, and raising awareness is among those critical needs. I applaud the philanthropic and private entities that are playing a vital role in this emerging public health threat, like the NACDS Foundation’s campaign that will help get the word out about prevention.”
 
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