U.S. Attorney's Office and U.S. Marshals Service Join DEA for Drug Take-Back Drive
SHREVEPORT, La.–United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley and the U.S. Marshals Service are teaming up with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to promote the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. A local event will be held at the federal courthouse in Shreveport from Wednesday, April 23rd through Friday, April 25th. The courthouse is located at 300 Fannin Street and will serve as a drop location to give the public an opportunity to rid their homes of unused or expired prescription drugs and medicines. This event is a kick off to the eighth annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day which will be held this Saturday, April 26th, and is sponsored by the DEA and more than 4,200 national, tribal and community law enforcement partners nationwide.
The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications. Unused medications in homes create a public health and safety concern because they are highly susceptible to accidental ingestion, theft, misuse, and abuse. DEA reports that almost twice as many Americans (6.8 million) currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and inhalants combined, according to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. And more Americans died in 2010 from overdoses of prescription medications (22,134, including 16,651 from narcotic painkillers) than from motor vehicle accidents, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Studies show that the majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high,” Finley stated. “DEA reported that last October, Americans turned in 324 tons (over 647,000 pounds) of prescription drugs, and since DEA’s first National Drug Take-Back event in September of 2010, consumers have disposed of over 3.4 million pounds of unwanted medication. We are excited to partner with the U.S. Marshals Service during this local event to help DEA promote their national initiative on Saturday. We hope that Louisiana citizens take this opportunity to safely dispose of prescriptions and medications that would normally get flushed or discarded in a landfill, and in turn help reduce the harm they cause to the public, environment and wildlife.”
“We greatly appreciate the outstanding support we are receiving from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Marshals Service,” said Joseph Shepherd, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “This ongoing initiative truly is a collaborative community effort addressing the serious problem of prescription drug abuse. By offering safe and secure options for our citizens to dispose of their unwanted prescription drugs, we are reducing the threat that these substances pose to public health.”
DEA will have over 5,600 collection sites across the country on Saturday, April 26th, for those who are interested in bringing their unused or expired prescription drugs for proper disposal. Only pills and other solids, like patches, can be brought to the collection sites – liquids and needles or other sharp objects will not be accepted. The collections sites will be open between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. local times. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
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 800-882-9539. The U.S. Marshals will be at the Shreveport location this week on Wednesday through Friday to supervise the drop off program at the federal courthouse.