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Over 130 Local Sites Join the Nationwide Effort to Take-Back Prescription Drugs on April 30, 2011

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) second National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 30, is less than one week away. More than 5,000 sites nationwide, including over 130 throughout the El Paso Division, have joined the effort that seeks to prevent pill abuse and theft. The free event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time.

Government, community, public health and law enforcement partners at these sites will be working together to collect expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs that are potentially dangerous if left in the family’s medicine cabinet.

Last September, the DEA El Paso Division with the help of Federal, state and local partners, collected over 3,100 pounds of pharmaceuticals from the community. Also last fall, Congress passed the Safe and Secure Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow users 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. DEA is presently drafting regulations to implement the Act.

Collection sites in every local community can be found by going to www.dea.gov and clicking on the “Got Drugs?” banner at the top of the home page, which connects to a database that citizens can search by zip code, city or county. This site is continuously updated with new take-back locations. In addition, interested media can now go to: www.nationaltakebackday.com to download a public service announcement about the initiative.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high—more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined, according to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Studies show that individuals that abuse prescription drugs often obtained them from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.

“We greatly appreciate the support from citizen groups, local businesses and our law enforcement partners that we have received thus far for this initiative. This truly has been a collaborative community effort focused towards addressing the serious problem of prescription drug abuse. By continuing to offer safe and secure options in order for our citizens to dispose of their unwanted prescription drugs, we are reducing the threat that these drugs pose to public health. ” said Joseph M. Arabit, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration-El Paso Division.

Other participants in this initiative include the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; the American Association of Poison Control Centers; the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America; D.A.R.E. America; the Federation of State Medical Boards; the U. S. Health Resources and Services Administration; the International Association of Chiefs of Police; the National Association of Attorneys General; the National Family Partnership; the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives; the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy; the National District Attorneys Association; the National Sheriffs Association; and The Partnership at Drugfree.org.

The DEA El Paso Division encourages parents, and their children to visit the following interactive websites at www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com, www.JustThinkTwice.comand www.dea.gov.


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