DEA National Take Back Day an Overwhelming Success Throughout Pennsylvania and Delaware
May 03 – (Philadelphia) – Vito S. Guarino, Acting S pecial Agent in Charge of the Philadelphia Division of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) today announced the overwhelming success of the fourth national prescription drug “Take-Back” campaign held this past Saturday. Citizens in Pennsylvania and Delaware dropped off more than 36,000 pounds of expired, unused, or unwanted pharmaceuticals at 425 collection sites in Pennsylvania and Delaware. The 18 tons collected in the two states far exceeds the 21,000 pounds collected during the last National Take-Back Day in October 2011. Law enforcement officers stationed at the sites reported a record number of participants in Saturday’s collection. The substances collected will be disposed of in an environmentally safe manner.
Acting Special in Charge Guarino said, “I want to take this opportunity to thank every person that collected the pharmaceuticals and brought them to a drop off site for eventual safe destruction. While dropping off drugs is important, this effort did more; it raised nation-wide awareness of the threat posed by prescription drug abuse. DEA will continue to aggressively enforce federal drug laws, however, DEA wants and needs the cooperation of every citizen in the effort to rid our communities of illicit drugs such as cocaine, as well as preventing the diversion and misuse of prescription drugs.”
Saturday’s event was one in a series of Take-Back dates that address the serious public safety and health threat posed by the abuse of prescription drugs. According to the 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there were 7 million Americans age 12 years and older who abused prescription drugs for non-medical purposes, up from 6.2 million in 2008. This represents a 13 percent increase in just one year. In 2009, on average, 6,027 persons per day abused prescription pain relievers for the first time.
Also in 2009, there were 1.2 million emergency room admissions for misuse and abuse of pharmaceuticals. The majority of drugs are obtained from friends and family free. Every day, on average, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time.
DEA recognizes that the overwhelming success of the Take-Back Initiative is due in large measure to the outstanding response from the citizens, support from local and state officials, law enforcement authorities, the District Attorney’s Offices, the health care community, private industry, parents, and volunteers throughout Pennsylvania and Delaware.