DEA Announces National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

DEA Announces National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has teamed up with state and local law enforcement, government, public health, and community organizations to establish the first National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. On Saturday, September 25, 2010, Americans across the country will be able to return unused, unwanted, and expired prescription medications at several participating locations in their communities in an effort to prevent prescription drug diversion and abuse. Between 10:00am to 2:00pm, anyone from the community can anonymously return any unused prescription pills to authorities for free.

Prescription drug abuse has grown into a public health problem nationwide. Over the past decade, abuse of pharmaceutical drugs, especially opiate medications, has skyrocketed across all demographics and regions of the U.S. Through its take-back initiative, the DEA and its partners are attempting to not only promote awareness of this growing epidemic among Americans, but also to educate the public on how to properly dispense their unused medications. Most Americans are unsure of how to dispense medications, and end up flushing them down the toilet or throwing them into the trash. Others forget about unused medications that end up lingering in their home medicine cabinet, where they can potentially be stolen by family members or friends without notice.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that 55.9% of prescription drug treatment admissions illicitly obtain prescription medications from a friend or family member. Pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives are all highly potent drugs that can be just as toxic as street drugs when misused. The nation’s increasing rate of prescription drug abuse has also led to an escalating rise in legal drug overdose and poisonings. Through the annual take-back event, prescription drugs can be properly returned to authorities for destruction, ensuring public safety and avoiding hazardous waste to the environment.

Some local law enforcement, health resources, or pharmacies have already practiced their own annual prescription drug ‘take-back’ events in an effort to decrease the rate of drug abuse in their communities. Yet for the first time, the Department of Justice has taken the safety initiative to a national level with this annual event, rallying community services across the U.S. to communally participate. Citizens of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to take advantage of this proactive event by contributing their unwanted medications to authorities. Their efforts will help keep dangerous, potent drugs from falling into the wrong hands where they can be sold, misused, or responsible for more addiction and death.

Unlike illicit street drugs that must be confiscated by law enforcement, prescription drugs can be legally kept in every American home. Some controlled substances are purposely abused by users, stolen, or sold illicitly to vulnerable individuals who may be unaware of the drug’s unsafe potential. By participating in the annual Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, every citizen has the ability to play a significant role in the preservation of their local, state, and federal community health.

Those interested in taking part in the event should visit www.dea.gov to locate participating collection sites. The DEA also encourages visitors to their site to check back often before September 25, as new locations are continually being added. Any prescription and over-the-counter medications in capsule or tablet form are acceptable for collection. Injectable medications and paraphernalia, as well as illegal substances will not be accepted.

The DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is also sponsored by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; the Partnership for a Drug-Free America the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy; the Federal of State Medical Boards; the National Association of Attorneys General; and the National Districts Attorneys Association.

Source: Department of Justice, DEA Heads First-Ever Nationwide Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, August 19, 2010

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