News Release
Date: October 06, 2010
Contact: Mike Turner
Number:  720-895-4214

DEA Announces Colorado, Utah, Montana and Wyoming
Prescription Drug Take-Back Results

OCT 06 -- DENVER – The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) today announced the overwhelmingly successful results of the first-ever national prescription drug “Take-Back” campaign. The American public turned in more than 242,000 lbs of prescription drugs for safe and proper disposal. More than 4,000 take back sites were available in all 50 states on Saturday, September 25, 2010, and Americans responded in huge numbers.

According to Rocky Mountain Division of the DEA, the results of their four state region “Take-Back” efforts is as follows:

Colorado - 9,257.8 pounds of prescription drugs collected
Utah – 3,076.8 pounds of prescription drugs collected
Montana – 1,195.5 pounds of prescription drugs collected
Wyoming – 662.2 pounds of prescription drugs collected

“The unprecedented support received from the public and our community partners has, without question, made our homes and communities a safer place to live,” said DEA Rocky Mountain Division Acting Special Agent in Charge Kevin R. Merrill. “We all have benefited by participating in this life saving program.”

Congress cleared legislation for the President on Wednesday that will allow DEA to create a framework for a permanent solution for prescription drug disposal. Currently, there are no legal means to transfer possession of certain prescription drugs for disposal. Until permanent regulations are in place; however, DEA will continue to hold one-day take-back programs.

“I applaud Congress for recognizing the magnitude of this threat to public health and safety and passing the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which will provide Americans with safe, environmentally sound ways to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs,” said Acting DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.

“I commend the DEA under Acting Administrator Leonhart’s leadership for its efforts in coordinating this important nationwide prescription drug take-back effort,” said Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Kerlikowske.  “More than 70 percent of people who abuse prescription drugs get them from friends or family – often from the home medicine cabinet.  Expanding take-back efforts nationwide is a key strategy in preventing prescription drug diversion and abuse, while safeguarding the environment.” 

DEA and other law enforcement working at disposal sites around the country reported huge turnouts of people ridding their medicine cabinets of unused or unwanted drugs. For example, in Troy, Missouri, a man literally brought his kitchen drawer full of medication to the collection site to empty. At another site in Jacksonville, Ill., a woman brought in nearly 50 years’ worth of medicines for disposal.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. More than seven million Americans abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Every day, on average, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time, according to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

Other participants in this initiative include 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.



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