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DEA Atlanta Division Office Heads up Eighth Prescription Drug Take-Back Event April 26, 2014

APR 23 (ATLANTA) - The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Atlanta Division Office is partnering with national, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officials, as well as community coalition groups, to hold an eighth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 26, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  This one-day event will make it convenient for the public to rid their homes of potentially dangerous prescription drugs. At the event, Georgians will be able to drop off their expired, unused, and unwanted pills at sites across the state free of charge, no questions asked.  By doing so, they will help prevent prescription drug abuse and theft. Georgians participating in DEA’s most recent take-back, held in October 2013, yielded 8,153.25 pounds of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at sites set up throughout the state.

Unused medications in homes create a public health and safety concern, because they are highly susceptible to accidental ingestion, theft, misuse, and abuse.  Almost twice as many Americans (6.8 million) currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and inhalants combined, according to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.  And more Americans died in 2010 from overdoses of prescription medications (22,134, including 16,651 from narcotic painkillers) than from motor vehicle accidents, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Surveys of users have found that the majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

Harry S. Sommers, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division commented, “DEA is collaborating with a multitude of community and law enforcement partners to show our commitment to decrease addiction caused by pharmaceutical drugs. This campaign provides a safe and environmentally sound way for Americans to dispose of their unwanted, unused or expired prescription medications. Through this collaborative effort, we will eliminate a major source for abused prescription drugs and make our communities safer.”

The public can find a nearby collection site by visiting www.dea.gov, clicking on the “Got Drugs?” icon, and following the links to a database where they can enter their zip code.  Or they can call 1-800-882-9539. Only pills and other solids, like patches, can be brought to the collection sites. Liquids and needles will not be collected.

DEA is in the process of drafting regulations to implement the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” (the patient or patient’s caregiver, including the owners of animals being treated by veterinarians) of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them.  The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances.

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