WESTON, FL. – On April 30th, Floridians turned in approximately 11,567 pounds (5 ¾ tons) of unwanted or expired prescription drugs at 228 collection sites across the state during the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) second National Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative. In the Tampa area, 2 ½ tons were collected, Orlando area, 1 ¼ tons, and one ton was collected in Southern and another in Northern Florida. During this year’s event, 1,748 more pounds were collected than during last September’s event. All the collected drugs were safely destroyed.
Nationwide, Americans turned in more than 376,593 pounds (188 tons) of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at the 5,361 take-back sites that were available in all 50 states. This is 55 percent more than the 242,000 pounds (121 tons) the public brought in during last September’s event.
“Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem in Florida and these events reduce the risk of prescription drug diversion and abuse,” said DEA Miami Field Division, Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville. “It is the joint efforts of DEA working with our state and local law enforcement and community partners that make these events such a success.”
Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high—more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined, according to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Studies show that teens who abuse prescription drugs often obtain them from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.