News Release
For Immediate Release
September 27, 2010
Contact: Special Agent Tony Pettigrew
Number: 617-557-2138

Tons of Prescription Drugs Collected

SEP 27 -- BOSTON, MA: Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England, announced today the results of the DEA“Take-Back” initiative for New England. In New England there were 401 return sites and 340 participating agencies.

“This past Saturday the DEA and our law enforcement partners collected 25,810 pounds of unneeded and unwanted prescription drugs, a virtual alphabet soup of prescriptions ranging from Adderall to Zoloft. Many of these medications are readily abused by today’s youth, and the collection and destruction of these medications made an impact by removing threats from medicine cabinets. While it is not the solution to the prescription drug abuse problem it is one avenue of prevention that will help make our communities safer. ”

The results are listed below:

  Return Sites Participating Agencies Pounds Collected
Connecticut 44 45 5050
Massachusetts 121 121 8550
Maine 120 88 7820
New Hampshire 50 50 2479
Rhode Island 13 14 784
Vermont 53 22 1127
Totals 401 340 25,810

Facts about prescription drugs:

• In 2009, there were 7 million Americans aged 12 years and older who abused prescription drugs for non-medical purposes within the past month, 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. The total number of individuals that initiated drug use with prescription drugs exceeds the number of individuals that initiated drug use with marijuana.

• Every day, on average, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time.

• 1 in 7 teens admit to abusing prescription drugs to get high in the past year. Sixty percent of teens who abused prescription pain relievers did so before the age of 15.

• Fifty-six percent of teens believe that prescription drugs are easier to get than illicit drugs.

• 2 in 5 teens believe that prescription drugs are “much safer” than illegal drugs. And 3 in 10 teens believe that prescription pain relievers are not addictive.

• Sixty-three percent of teens believe that prescription drugs are easy to get from friends’ and family’s medicine cabinet.

• According to the Center for Disease Control, prescription drugs, including opioids and antidepressants, are responsible for more overdose deaths than “street drugs” such as cocaine, heroin, and amphetamines.

• The number of emergency room visits attributable to pharmaceuticals alone is up 97% between 2004 and 2008

• The number of persons seeking treatment for pain reliever abuse is up more than fourfold between 1998 and 2008

• DEA works closely with the medical community to help them recognize drug abuse and signs of diversion, and relies on their input and due diligence to combat diversion. Unfortunately, egregious drug violations by practitioners do sometimes occur – fortunately doctor involvement in illegal drug activity is rare. When violations do occur, DEA will pursue criminal, civil, and administrative actions against such practitioners as warranted.

This take back initiative would not have been successful without the assistance of the Massachusetts National Guard, Maine National Guard, New Hampshire National Guard, Vermont National Guard, Rhode Island National Guard Connecticut National Guard, Covanta Energy, Wheelabrator, the MBTA, Clear Channel the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; the Partnership for a Drug-Free America; 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; and the National District Attorneys Association.