Montgomery, Alabama - On April 29, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., local law enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its thirteenth opportunity in six years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. The common methods for disposing of unused medicines - flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash - pose potential safety and health hazards. Therefore, citizens are encouraged to bring their prescription drugs to a disposal site in their area. Participants should note that the DEA can only take tablets, pills, patches, or other solid dosage forms. They cannot accept liquids, needles, or “sharps.” The service is free and anonymous and there will be no questions asked. To locate a disposal site near you, go to the link below or call the DEA at 1-800-882-9539.
Last October, Alabama citizens turned in 3,545 pounds of prescription drugs at 69 sites around the state that were operated by DEA and its state and local law enforcement partners. There are more than 80 sites around Alabama available for drug turn in this Saturday. Since the first Take Back event in 2010, over 47,000 pounds of prescription drugs have been collected in Alabama. The drugs collected will be destroyed by DEA at EPA-approved incinerators.
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, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. There were over 52,000 deaths in 2015 due to drug overdoses, or nearly 91 per day.
Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. The abuse of opioid prescription pain medications has exploded nationwide as those drugs are being prescribed more frequently. In fact, the U. S. consumes 80% of the world’s pain medication while only having 5% of the world’s population. Unfortunately, the overwhelming abuse of prescription opioids in the U.S. has resulted in an increase in new heroin users.
“This Take Back day is one way that citizens can help combat the growing threat of prescription drugs,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Clark Morris. “We ask all of our citizens to use this day to help make their homes a safer place for their family and friends.”