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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Hampshire

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 20, 2016

DEA and Partners Hold Prescription Drug Take Back Day Saturday

            Boston, MA – This weekend DEA will once again conduct one of its most popular community programs:  National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.  On Saturday October 22 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. the public can dispose of their expired, unused, and unwanted prescription medications at one of 566 collection sites throughout New England, operated by 505 local law enforcement agencies and other community partners.  The service is free of charge, no questions asked and most of these collection sites can be found in the lobby of your local Police Department.

            America is presently experiencing an epidemic of addiction, overdose and death due to abuse of prescription drugs, particularly opioid painkillers.  6.4 million Americans age 12 and over—2.4 percent of the population—abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health released last month, more than abuse cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, and methamphetamine combined.  Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States, eclipsing deaths from motor vehicle crashes or firearms.  The majority of prescription drug abusers report that they obtain their drugs from friends and family, including from the home medicine cabinet. 

            “The diversion of prescription pain killers contribute to the widespread abuse of opiates, is the gateway to heroin addiction, and is devastating our communities,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Ferguson.  "Many Americans are not aware that medicines which languish in home cabinets are highly vulnerable to diversion, misuse, and abuse.  Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisoning and overdoses due to the illegal use of these drugs.  Please take the time to clean out your medicine cabinet and make your home safe from drug theft and abuse."

            United States Attorney for the District of New Hampshire Emily Gray Rice stated: “Participation in the DEA’s Drug Take-Back Day is one of the most important things that the average person can do to prevent the misuse of prescription drugs.  Removing these drugs from our homes insures that these powerful substances do not fall into the wrong hands or become the spark that ignites opioid addiction.  I hope that everyone will take this opportunity to safely dispose of these drugs, and to encourage their friends and neighbors to do the same.”   

            Last April, during its 11th Take Back Day, the DEA New England Field Division (NEFD) participated in the Drug Take-Back Day and over the course of four hours 86,900 pounds of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs were collected at 551 collection sites throughout New England.  The following was the breakdown of collected weights for the six New England states:

​Connecticut 

​8,815.50 lbs.

Massachusetts

​25,028 lbs.

Maine

​31,960 lbs.

New Hampshire  

​12,560 lbs.

Rhode Island

​3,460 lbs.

Vermont              

​5,094.60 lbs.

Total for NEFD 

86,918.1 lbs. 

            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.  Or they can call 800-882-9529.  Only pills and other solids, like patches, can be brought to the collection sites—liquids and needles or other sharps will not be accepted.

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Topic(s): 
Prescription Drugs
Component(s): 
Updated October 20, 2016