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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 25, 2013

Nationwide Prescription Drug Take-Back Event – October 26

SAN FRANCISCO – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its national, tribal, and community partners will hold a seventh National Prescription Drug Take Back Day at thousands of sites across the country on Saturday, October 26, 2013. These Take Back Day events give the public the opportunity to prevent prescription drug abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, or unwanted prescription drugs.

Prescription drugs that languish in medicine cabinets create a public health and safety concern because they are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high; almost twice as many Americans (6.8 million) currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those abusing cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and inhalants combined, according to the 2012 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 brings harm to our community, endangering those who obtain these controlled substances without proper medical supervision,” stated U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag. “By properly removing these outdated and dangerous products from our medicine cabinets, we eliminate a temptation that often has disastrous consequences. The U.S. Attorney’s Office commends the DEA for addressing this challenging topic and for their efforts in organizing this Prescription Drug Take-Back Event.”

“The DEA’s San Francisco Field Division is committed to the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and we are proud to host more than 226 collection sites with our law enforcement and corporate partners. Cumulatively, Northern California residents have turned in more than 65 tons of prescription drugs during the past six National Prescription Drug Take Back Days, and we expect that this Saturday will be even more successful than the prior events. Prescription drug abuse is a serious health issue that should concern all parents. Studies show that more than 54 percent of children 12 and older abuse pain relievers they get from friends or family, so it only makes sense to dispose of unused, unneeded, expired prescription medications from the home,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Bruce C. Balzano.

Americans participating in the DEA’s six previous Take-Back Days turned in nearly 2.8 million pounds—almost 1,409 tons—of prescription drugs, most recently at more than 5,800 sites operated by over 4,300 of DEA’s law enforcement partners.

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 for additional information. The service is free and anonymous.