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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - [print-friendly page]
Date: April 16, 2012
Contact: DEA Public Affairs
Number: 202-307-7977

DEA to Hold Nationwide Prescription Drug Take-Back Day April 28
--Thousands of Drop-Off Locations-- Nearly a Million Pounds of Prescription Drugs Turned in During Previous Take Backs--

April 16 (Washington) – This spring, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its national and community partners will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.

On Saturday, April 28th, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time, DEA and its partners will hold their fourth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day at sites nationwide. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Americans participating in DEA’s three previous Take-Back Days turned in nearly a million pounds—almost 500 tons—of prescription drugs at over 5,300 sites operated by more than 4,000 of the DEA’s state and local law enforcement partners. Last fall’s event encouraged participation by long term care facilities and Indian nations as well as the general public.

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 2010 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.

“Prescription drug abuse is a major epidemic across the country and DEA is committed to reducing the potential for misuse by providing a safe and secure method for Americans to clean out their medicine cabinets and properly dispose of unwanted, unneeded, or expired medications,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.  “Americans responded overwhelmingly to DEA’s first three Take-Back Day events, disposing of nearly 500 tons of medication in the past two years.  This nationwide community effort prevents home medicine cabinets from becoming sources of dangerous – and even deadly – drugs."

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. Law enforcement agencies interested in operating one or more collection sites on April 28 can register with the DEA by clicking on the above-cited “Got Drugs?” icon and calling the DEA POC for their state, which can be under the link for law enforcement.

Four days after the first Take-Back event in September 2010, 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 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.

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