SAN FRANCISCO, CA – This spring, the Drug Enforcement Administration and its national and community partners will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. On Saturday, April 30th, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time, DEA and its partners will hold their second National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day at sites nationwide. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Last September, Americans turned in over 242,000 pounds—121 tons—of prescription drugs at nearly 4,100 sites operated by more than 3,000 of the DEA’s state and local law enforcement partners. The agency hopes to collect even more this spring by opening the event to long term care facilities.
Participating agencies in the Northern and Eastern Judicial Districts of California include state and local law enforcement located in the following counties: Alameda, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Lassen, Marin, Mariposa, Merced, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Shasta, Sierra, Stanislaus, Tehama, Tulare, Tuolumne, and Yuba. Collection sites in every local community can be found by going to www.dea.gov . This site will be continuously updated with new take-back locations.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets 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, and heroin combined, according to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
“Prescription drug abuse is serious public health issue and medications that linger in the home can pose a hazard. Last fall many citizens took the opportunity to clean out their medicine cabinets of these expired, unused, and unwanted drugs,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams. “It was a privilege to participate with our state and local partners in the DEA’s first National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day and receive such a tremendous response from the community. I encourage individuals to once more take advantage of this opportunity to safely dispose of their prescription drugs.”
The public can find a nearby collection site by visiting www.dea.gov, clicking on the “Got Drugs?” icon, and following the links to a database, where they enter their zip code. Law enforcement agencies interested in operating one or more collection sites on April 30 can register with the DEA by calling the DEA Field Division office in their area. The DEA San Francisco Field Division National Take Back Day Coordinator can be reached at (510) 637-5648. (To see each division office’s geographic area of responsibility, go to www.dea.gov and click on the “office locations” link under “About Us” in the menu on the left side of the home page.)
Four days after last fall’s event, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. DEA has begun drafting regulations to implement the Act.
Other participants in this initiative include the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; the American Association of Poison Control Centers; the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America; D.A.R.E. America; the Federation of State Medical Boards; the U. S. Health Resources and Services Administration; the International Association of Chiefs of Police; the National Association of Attorneys General; the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives; the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy; the National District Attorneys Association; the National Sheriffs Association; and The Partnership at Drugfree.org.