DEA, Philadelphia Police and Pennsylvania National Guard Launch First Ever Nationwide Effort to Take-Back Prescription Drugs on Sept. 25
SEP 22 -- PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Drug Enforcement Administration and its law enforcement partners at the Pennsylvania State Police, Philadelphia Police Department and the Pennsylvania National Guard will initiate the first ever state and nationwide effort to take-back prescription drugs on Saturday, September 25, 2010. As part of this anonymous program, DEA has registered over 280 sites throughout Pennsylvania and Delaware that will join the effort that seeks to prevent the abuse and theft of prescription drugs left in our nation’s medicine cabinets. Government, community, public health and law enforcement partners have joined together to collect potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction at these sites and all across the nation on Saturday, September 25 th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. The service is free and anonymous; no questions asked. In Philadelphia, all of the Philadelphia Police District Stations as well as the Drexel University Recreational Center will be designated collection sites for citizens to dispose of unused prescription drugs.
Collection sites in every local community can be found by going to www.dea.gov. This site is continuously updated with new take-back locations. In addition, interested media can now go to: www.nationaltakebackday.com to download a public service announcement about the initiative, which addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Prescription drug abuse in the U.S. has increased at an alarming rate, as have the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to the misuse of these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained 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.
“The National Prescription Drug Take-Back campaign will provide a safe way for Americans to dispose of their unwanted prescription drugs,” said Michele M. Leonhart, Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “This effort symbolizes DEA’s commitment to halting the disturbing rise in addiction caused by their misuse and abuse. Working together with our state and local partners, the medical community, anti-drug coalitions, and a concerned public, we will eliminate a major source of abused prescription drugs, and reduce the hazard they pose to our families and communities in a safe, legal, and environmentally sound way.”
According to the 2007 National Study of Drug-Use and Health, 70% of those who abuse prescription pain relievers say they got them from friends or relatives, and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that upwards of nine million people use prescription medication for non medicinal uses. “These drugs that are stashed in medicine cabinets, long forgotten and often out of date, can be just as dangerous and deadly as those illegally sold by drug dealers on the street corners if misused or if they fall into the wrong hands, most often those of our youth and young adults,” stated John J. Bryfonski, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Philadelphia Division.
“With this National Prescription Drug Take-Back campaign, we are aggressively reaching out to individuals to encourage them to rid their households of unused prescription drugs that pose a safety hazard and can contribute to prescription drug abuse,” said Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grindler. “The Department of Justice is committed to doing everything we can to make our communities safer, and this initiative represents a new front in our efforts.”
U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger stated that “The United States Attorney’s Office fully supports the DEA in its efforts to remove these dangerous drugs from our citizens’ homes.”
“Prescription drug abuse is the Nation’s fastest-growing drug problem, and take-back events like this one are an indispensable tool for reducing the threat that the diversion and abuse of these drugs pose to public health,” said Director of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske. “The federal, state, and local collaboration represented in this initiative is key in our national efforts to reduce pharmaceutical drug diversion and abuse.”
Other participants in this initiative include the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, NASCAR, Dover International Speedway, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Association of Attorneys General, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, the Federation of State Medical Boards, Philadelphia Police Department, the United States Attorney’s Office, Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office Partnership for a Drug Free Pennsylvania, and the National District Attorneys Association.