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DEA Holds its Fifth Prescription Drug Take-Back Day September 29 as Public Participation Continues to Rise

SEP 27 (NEW ORLEANS) – With public participation at an all-time high after four prior events in two years, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New Orleans Field Division, which encompasses Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas will host, in collaboration with state and local police agencies throughout the region, a fifth National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday the 29th. These Take Back Days give the public the opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, or unwanted prescription drugs. Collection sites are open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Americans participating in DEA’s four previous Take-Back Days turned in nearly 1.6 million pounds—almost 774 tons—of prescription drugs, most recently at almost 5,700 sites operated by nearly 4,300 of the DEA’s local law enforcement partners. DEA’s last event collected more than double the pills as their first event two years ago, with almost 50% more participating agencies and sites this past April than in September of 2010. Medicines that languish in home cabinets create a public health and safety concern because they 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 2011 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.

Four days after DEA’s first Take Back event two years ago, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” 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 in the process of drafting regulations to implement the Act.

Regarding the Take Back Event, DEA New Orleans Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jimmy S. Fox said, “Prescription Drugs are the new crack cocaine. Consequently, the prescription drug epidemic is present in each and every state in this country and it cannot be resolved with enforcement alone. DEA recognizes the solution involves a proactive response from all affected parties including parents, children and the community as a whole.”

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 enter their zip code.

Parents and children are encouraged to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.JustThinkTwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov. ###


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