SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Anthony D. Williams, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration San Francisco Field Division, announced today that Northern California and Central Valley residents turned in 28,377 pounds of medicine – more than 14 tons – as part of the DEA Prescription Drug Take-Back Program. This nationwide event was held on Saturday, April 30, 2011, and provided area residents the ability to dispose of unused and expired medications.
“Once again many citizens took the opportunity to clean out their medicine cabinets of these expired, unused, and unwanted drugs,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams. “It was a privilege to participate with our state, local, and community partners in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. As a result of the overwhelming response from the community more than 14 tons of medicine is out of the home, greatly reducing the potential for diversion, misuse or abuse.”
In the Northern and Eastern Judicial Districts of California, local law enforcement agencies and community groups from Alameda, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Lassen, Marin, Mariposa, Merced, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Tulare, Tuolumne, and Yuba Counties joined with DEA to host 132 collections sites resulting in the collection of 28,377 pounds of medicine. This represents a 141% increase over what was collected by agencies in the San Francisco Field Division in September 2010. Community groups and coalitions also joined with DEA to provide drug awareness literature and community resource information. Nationally, 188 tons of unwanted or expired medications were collected for safe and proper disposal at the 5,361 take-back sites that were available in all 50 states.
Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are increasing at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.