APR 22 (PHOENIX) – With public participation at an all-time high after seven prior events in three-and-a-half years, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners will hold another Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 26th. Arizonans can take their pills to one of over 85 collection sites across the state between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
"Arizonans responded overwhelmingly to DEA's seven previous Take-Back Day events, disposing of over 58,000 pounds of pharmaceutical drugs in the past years," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman. "We know that young people consider controlled- substance prescription drugs, like Vicodin, to be a safer way to get high, but they couldn't be more wrong. By removing unwanted prescription drugs from their homes, the public helps prevent experimentation, addiction, overdose and even death."
Unused medications in homes create a public health and safety concern, because they are highly susceptible to accidental ingestion, theft, misuse, and abuse. In Arizona, 1 in 6 youth reported abuse of prescription drugs. 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.
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 or other sharps will not be accepted.
DEA is in the process of approving new regulations that implement the Safe and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an "ultimate user" of controlled substance medications (that is, a patient or pet owner or the patient's caregiver) 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.