News and Press Releases

DEA Office in Columbia Holding its Sixth Nationwide Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Saturday, April 27, 2013

April 24, 2013

Contact Person: S/A Chuvalo Truesdell (404) 893-7124

Columbia, South Carolina
-----After collecting an average of 400,000 pounds of expired, unwanted prescription medications at each of its previous five events in the past three years, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its national, tribal, and community partners, will hold a sixth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day across the country on Saturday, April 27, 2013.  Collection sites are open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time.  The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

The public has embraced the opportunity these Take-Back Day events provide to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, or unwanted prescription drugs.  Local law enforcement agencies in thousands of American communities partnered with the DEA to take in over 2 million pounds—almost 1,018 tons—of expired prescription drugs since September 2010. 
On this date, the DEA’s South Carolina District Office will lead the charge in hosting numerous collection sites throughout the Columbia metropolitan area, where South Carolinians will be able to drop off their expired, unused, and unwanted and potentially dangerous pills at sites across the state free of charge, no questions asked. This service will help prevent drug abuse and theft and will make it convenient for the public.

On September 29, 2012, DEA and its state and local law enforcement and community partners held its fifth national prescription drug take back event. During DEA’s statewide event, approximately 3,539 pounds of unwanted or expired medications were collected at numerous sites throughout Tennessee for safe and proper disposal.

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. 

Harry S. Sommers, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division said, “DEA is committed to making our communities safer by raising public awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. DEA’s sixth Prescription Drug Take-Back event will allow Americans to properly and safely dispose of unwanted prescription medication which could otherwise be abused for non-medical purposes. This event is free and anonymous; no questions asked and will be held on April 27, 2013 between the hours of 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. In order to carry out this mission, DEA will be working hand-in-hand with its law enforcement and community partners, all in an effort to rid our communities of prescription drug abuse.”  

The public can find a nearby collection site by visiting, 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 27 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 last fall’s event, 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 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.  DEA is in the process of drafting regulations to implement the Act.


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