SEATTLE – Pharmaceutical drugs can be as dangerous as street drugs. The majority of teenagers get pharmaceuticals from family and friends – and the home medicine cabinet. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its community partners throughout Washington will provide to the public a safe, free and anonymous way to rid their homes of potentially dangerous prescription drugs on Saturday, April 30, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
This is the second DEA led nation-wide prescription drug “Take-Back” program that seeks to prevent increased pill abuse and theft. 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 less than four hours, Washington residents turned in nearly 4.5 tons of medicine.
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.
“Taking the time to clean out your medicine cabinet can be a matter of life and death,” said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Mark Thomas. “The Prescription Drug Take Back program provides a safe way to dispose of unused and expired medication that can lead to accidental poisoning, overdose and abuse. DEA and its partners are committed to keeping our communities safe.”
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 the public can search by zip code, city or county. Additionally, the public can call 1-800-882-9539.