Record 4 Tons of Prescription Drugs Turned in By Arizona Residents
May 04 (PHOENIX) – Arizonans have again responded overwhelmingly to the most recent DEA-led Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. On April 28 th, citizens turned in a record-breaking 8,491 pounds (4.25 tons) of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at over 90 take-back sites across Arizona. With the results of the four statewide Take-Back Days to date are combined, DEA and its state, local and tribal law enforcement and community partners have removed close to 27,000 pounds (13.43 tons) of medications from circulation.
“We are pleased at the response of our communities once again, and we thank them for participating and contributing to the battle against prescription drug abuse,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman, who added that 58 departments and agencies participated with DEA statewide in Saturday’s event. “Our take-back events highlight the problems related to prescription drug abuse and give our citizens an opportunity to contribute to the solution. These events are only made possible through the dedicated work and commitment of our state, local and tribal partners and DEA thanks each and every one of them for their efforts on behalf of the American people.”
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in the home are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high—more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and inhalants combined, according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Studies show that the majority of teens who abuse prescription drugs obtain them from family and friends for free, including from the home medicine cabinet.
Prescription drug disposal and the DEA’s Take-Back events are significant pieces of the White House’s Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan released this year by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Purging home medicine cabinets of neglected drugs is one of four strategies for reducing prescription drug abuse and diversion laid out in Epidemic: Responding to America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis . The other strategies include education of health care providers, patients, parents and youth; establishing prescription drug monitoring programs in all states; and increased enforcement to address doctor shopping and pill mills.