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Arizona Residents Dispose of over 6 Tons of Prescription Drugs

More than 13,000 pounds of Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medicine Collected in Sixth Statewide Take-Back Effort

MAY 02 (PHOENIX) – Today, Douglas W. Coleman, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), announced that this past Saturday, DEA collected 60 percent more pills than the previous Take-Back event, demonstrating the public’s continued appreciation and need for the opportunity to discard unwanted, unused and expired prescription drugs from medicine cabinets, bedside tables and kitchen drawers.

Jug filled with pills from the Drug Take Back Event.
Jug filled with pills.

On April 27th, 13,069 pounds (6½ tons) of prescription medications were collected from members of the public at more than 95 locations manned by over 60 state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies that partnered with DEA on the event.  When added to the collections from DEA’s previous five Take-Back events, more than 48,000 pounds (24 tons) of prescription medications have been removed from circulation.

Take-Back VI Boxes ready for destruction.
Take-Back VI Boxes ready for destruction.

“We are pleased at the response of our communities once again, and we thank them for participating and contributing to the battle against prescription drug abuse,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman.  “Our take-back events highlight the problems related to prescription drug abuse and give our citizens an opportunity to contribute to the solution.  “These events are only made possible through the dedicated work and commitment of our state, local and tribal law enforcement partners, and DEA thanks each and every one of them for their efforts on behalf of the American people.”

Glendale Police Department, Community Action Team takes part in Take-Back VI.
Glendale Police Department, Community Action Team takes part in Take-Back VI.

The DEA’s Take-Back events are a significant piece of the White House’s prescription drug abuse prevention strategy released in 2011 by the Office of National Drug Control Policy.  Disposal of unwanted, unused or expired drugs is one of four strategies for reducing prescription drug abuse and diversion laid out in Epidemic: Responding to America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis.  The other strategies include education of health care providers, patients, parents and youth; enhancing and encouraging the establishment of prescription drug monitoring programs in all the states; and increased enforcement to address doctor shopping and pill mills.

Local resident dropping off expired medications.
Local resident dropping off expired medications.

Shortly after DEA’s first Take-Back Day event two-and-a-half years ago, Congress passed, and President Obama signed, the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amended the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to allow the DEA to develop permanent, ongoing, and responsible methods for disposing of controlled-substance medications.  Prior to the passage of the above-cited Act, the CSA provided no legal means for transferring possession of controlled substance medications from users to other individuals for disposal. On December 21, 2012, DEA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Disposal of Controlled Substances that seeks to implement the above-cited Act.

Mother and son dropping their unwanted medicines at collection site in Tempe, AZ.
Mother and son dropping their unwanted medicines at collection site in Tempe, AZ.

DEA encourages parents, educators, and young adults to visit the following websites to learn about prescription drug abuse and misuse:  www.justthinktwice.com ; www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com ; www.drugfreeaz.org.  


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