Gainesville, Florida - North Florida Regional Medical Center (NFRMC) will be taking part in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, October 26, 2019, as the host collection site for Alachua County. NFRMC is encouraging the community to bring their unused and unwanted prescription medications (narcotics and non-narcotics) to the main hospital located at 6500 W Newberry Road in Gainesville, from 10:00am - 2:00pm, and turn them in at the collection site, which will be located inside NFRMC's main lobby.

According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study also shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. The DEA's Drug Take Back Day events were created to help prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths in our communities by keeping unwanted or unused medications out of the hands of those who may abuse them. Not only does this event help prevent drug abuse, but it also discourages other types of disposal, such as the flushing of prescribed drugs down the toilet, which can be harmful to the environment.

During the most recent National Drug Take Back Day on April 27, 2019, the DEA collected 35,775 pounds of medication at 204 collection sites in Florida alone. Nationally, they collected 937,443 pounds of prescription medication, or 468.72 tons.

This is the first time NFRMC has participated in the DEA Prescription Drug Take Back Day, and it is currently the only collection site in Alachua County. Officials recommend that participants bring their unused prescription medications in their respective pill bottles, and to leave the name of the drug on the bottle. It is also encouraged to strike the patient's name off the bottle using a black marker prior to turning them in. However, the DEA will accept pills in plastic bags. Proof of prescription, while encouraged, is not necessarily needed for this take back. Sharp objects, liquids and illegal drugs will not be accepted. Gainesville Police Department Officers will be present to assist in the collection. Drugs that are turned in from the community during this event will be sent to the DEA for proper disposal.