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DEA’s Prescription Drug Take-Back Effort in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands -- A Big Success
DEA Caribbean Division Special Agent in Charge Vito Guarino and Senior U.S. Postal Police (USPS) Officer Rodolfo Rodriguez speak to the news media at the collection site located in the USPS General Post Office in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
DEA Caribbean Division Special Agent in Charge Vito Guarino and Senior U.S. Postal Police (USPS) Officer Rodolfo Rodriguez speak to the news media at the collection site located in the USPS General Post Office in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

OCT 01 (SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) – The people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands discarded almost a half-ton of unused, expired, or unwanted drugs as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Initiative (NTBI) on Saturday, September 26. 

This past weekend, the DEA, with the assistance of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Caribbean Healthcare System; the Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands National Guard; the Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and San Juan Police Departments and the Puerto Rico Health, Justice and Treasury Departments, took in almost 1,000 pounds of unused, expired or unwanted drugs at collection sites across Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.   This was the 10th NTBI event since September 2010. Cumulatively, these events have collected thousands of pounds of prescription drugs.

“The Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands communities have once again responded to the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day event, and we thank them for participating in this effort to battle prescription drug abuse,” said DEA Caribbean Division Special Agent in Charge Vito S. Guarino, who added that Commonwealth and Territorial agencies participated with DEA Caribbean Division in this event. “These take-back events highlight the problems related to prescription drug abuse and provide a unique and meaningful service to our citizens. We will continue to sponsor these take-back opportunities to give our citizens the opportunity to safely dispose their unused, unwanted or expired prescription drugs”

 The NTBI addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.5 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs.  That same study showed that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.  The DEA’s NTBI events are also a significant piece of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s prescription drug abuse prevention strategy. 

In his Weekly Address, President Obama spoke about the importance of preventing and treating substance use disorders and called on Americans to participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.


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