American Public Overwhelmingly Responds to
OCT 08 -- ATLANTA, GA - The United States Drug Enforcement Administration today announced the overwhelmingly successful results of the first-ever national prescription drug “Take-Back” campaign. The American public turned in more than 242,000 pounds of prescription drugs for safe and proper disposal. More than 4,000 take-back sites were available in all 50 states on Saturday, September 25, 2010 and Americans responded in huge numbers.
DEA and other law enforcement working at disposal sites throughout the country reported huge turnouts of people ridding their medicine cabinets of unused, unwanted and expired medications.
Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the DEA Atlanta Field Division commented, “The Prescription Drug Take-Back campaign was a huge success. More than 121 tons of pills were turned in at numerous sites throughout the country. As a result, these products will not end up in the hands of a would-be abuser. This event was a critical step in stemming the tide of prescription drug abuse in this country. I would like to thank the multitude of partners (both law enforcement and non law enforcement) who worked tirelessly to make this event a success.”
On Wednesday, September 29, 2010, Congress cleared legislation for the President that will allow DEA to create a framework for a permanent solution for prescription drug disposal. Currently, there are no legal means to transfer possession of certain prescription drugs for disposal.
The prescription drug take-back initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. More than seven million Americans abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Every day, on average, 2,500 teens use them to get high for the first time, according to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
Nationally, other participants in this initiative included the Partnership for a Drug-Free America; the International Association of Chiefs of Police; the National Association of Attorneys General; the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy; the Federation of State Medical Boards; and the National District Attorneys Association. Locally, Safe Kids Georgia, the Georgia Poison Control Center and a multitude of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies contributed a great deal of time and energy towards this effort.
The DEA Atlanta Field Division has offices in Georgia, North and South Carolina and Tennessee. The state of Georgia had 134 registered drop-off sites and collected 3,128.60 pounds of prescription, over-the-counter drugs and related products, North Carolina had 84 sites and collected 2,267.0 pounds, South Carolina had 33 sites and collected 1,180.40 pounds and Tennessee had 59 sites and collected 2,958.95 pounds.
Until permanent regulations are put in place by Congress, DEA will continue to hold one-day take-back programs.
DEA Atlanta’s SAC Benson encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justhinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.