MIAMI, FL. – This month, the Drug Enforcement Administration and its national, state, and local partners will give Floridians another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. On Saturday, April 30th, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., DEA and its partners will hold their second National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day at sites state-wide. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Last September, Americans turned in over 242,000 pounds—121 tons—of prescription drugs at nearly 4,100 sites operated by more than 3,000 of the DEA’s state and local law enforcement partners. In Florida, 4-1/2 tons of prescription drugs were collected from over 140 sites. The collected drugs were safely disposed at the following four sites in Florida: Miami-Fort Lauderdale area – 1-1/2 tons, Orlando – 1-1/2 tons, Tampa – 1/2 ton, and Tallahassee – 1 ton.
DEA hopes to collect even more this spring by opening the event to long term care facilities. 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 a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
“In Florida, seven people are dying every day from prescription drug abuse,” said DEA Miami Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville. “Ridding medicine cabinets of expired, unused, and unwanted drugs is as important a home safety activity as changing batteries in smoke detectors.”
Floridians can find local collections sites by visiting www.dea.gov, clicking on “Got Drugs?”, and entering their zip code.