Chesco: Drug Take Back Day is Sat.

Chester County’s Department of Drug & Alcohol Services is raising community awareness for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day taking place on Saturday, April 29th. Organized nationwide by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), National Prescription Drug Take Back Day provides local sites for safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while educating the public about the potential for abuse of medications.

From 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 29nd, temporary prescription drug disposal sites will be set up throughout Chester County, in locations including Avondale, Berwyn, Coatesville, Downingtown, Kennett Square, Malvern, Phoenixville and West Grove. These temporary sites will join the 23 permanent drug disposal sites throughout the county.

“Prescription drug abuse is an ever-growing epidemic nationwide, and Chester County is not immune to the problem,” said Vince Brown, Executive Director of the Chester County Department of Drug & Alcohol Services. “Current estimates are that nearly 35,000 people in Chester County are suffering from some sort of substance use disorder which occurs when a person uses a drug or alcohol substance and the use results in physical, behavioral, or social problems at school, work or home”.

Commonly abused prescription drugs fall into three different categories: opioids, which are pain relievers and have a similar chemical make up as heroin; sedatives, which are used to treat anxiety and depression; and stimulants, which increase attention, energy, blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the average age for the first use of prescription drugs in the United States is 13 years old. Prescription drugs are often mistaken by adolescents as a “safe” alternative to illegal street drugs, which leads to increasing use, and they are easily accessible in medicine cabinets.

“In order to decrease first time use of prescription drugs, it is imperative to begin with prevention efforts,” added Vince Brown. “In addition to education and awareness, prescription drug abuse prevention includes locking up or monitoring prescription medications that are in the home and disposing of any unneeded or expired prescription medications at a medication collection box.”

Collection boxes for prescription drugs in Chester County are at 23 permanent locations, and for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 29th, an additional 10 temporary locations will be established. For a full list of permanent locations, go to, and for temporary locations, go to

Medication collection boxes are just one of the several prevention, education and awareness initiatives undertaken by Chester County to combat the opioid and heroin epidemic plaguing the region.

In 2015, the Chester County Overdose Task Force was created bringing together the Chester County Commissioners’ Office, the District Attorney’s Office, the Health Department, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Services and many other County and community partners to address the opioid epidemic by sharing education, awareness, and innovative ideas.

Last November, over 750 people of all ages participated in the first Color 5k Run/Walk which raised $25,000. The funds were donated to Chester County’s five hospitals for their warm hand-off program, transitioning those who have been saved from an overdose into long-term treatment, while also educating and supporting the individual and their family.

The Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education (NOPE) Task Force, a project of Holcomb Behavioral Health Systems in partnership with the Chester County District Attorney’s Office, has presented to over 40,000 middle and high school students and over 1,000 parents and community members educating on the dangers of prescription drugs.

Good Fellowship Ambulance & EMS has trained 46 municipal police department in Chester County to carry Naloxone, a live saving opioid antidote that reverses an opioid overdose. In addition to training the police departments, Good Fellowship provided 300 kits of Naloxone to trained police officers from Chester County. Since the program’s inception in January 2015, there have been 165 administrations of Naloxone resulting in 156 saves, which is a 95 percent success rate.

Chester County’s Department of Drug and Alcohol Services wants to ensure that residents are aware of the drug and alcohol treatment services and resources available for both the insured and uninsured. Insurance holders, including Medicaid, should call the number listed on the back of the insurance card to receive information accessing drug and alcohol services. Uninsured individuals can call one of the following agencies for help: Gaudenzia Coatesville (Coatesville) – 610-383-9600; Mirmont Outpatient (Exton) – 484-565-1130; Holcomb Behavioral Health Systems (Kennett Square) – 610-388-9225; Creative Health Services (Phoenixville) – 610-933-1223; Gaudenzia West Chester (West Chester) – 610-429-1414.

For more information and resources, visit the Chester County Department of Drug & Alcohol Services website:, or call the Chester County Information and Referral line at 866-286-3767.

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