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DEA Brings in Record Amount of Unused Prescription Drugs on National Prescription Take Back Day

MAY 09 (LOS ANGELES) – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and more than 4,200 of its law enforcement and community partners collected more unused prescription drugs than at any of the 12 previous National Prescription Drug Take Back Day events.

On Saturday, April 29, the event brought in 900,386 pounds (450 tons) at close to 5,500 sites across the nation.  Marking the 13th National Prescription Take Back Day since September 2010, these events have altogether collected 8,103,363 pounds (4,052 tons) of prescription drugs.

The DEA Los Angeles Field Division, which encompasses seven counties in the greater Los Angeles area, the States of Nevada and Hawaii, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), took in 38,340 pounds of medication as part of the effort.  

In the Los Angeles area, local law enforcement agencies from Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties collected 30,985 pounds. 

In Nevada, agents and local law enforcement officers collected 4,174 pounds of prescription medications. 

In Hawaii, Guam, and the CNMI, agents and local law enforcement officers collected 3,181 pounds of medications at locations throughout the islands.

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Initiative addresses a crucial public health and safety issue.  According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.4 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs.  The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.  The DEA’s Take Back Day events provide an opportunity for Americans to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths.

"Too often, unused prescription drugs find their way into the wrong hands.  That's dangerous and often tragic,” said Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg.  “That's why it was great to see thousands of folks from across the country clean out their medicine cabinets and turn in - safely and anonymously - a record amount of prescription drugs." 

DEA’s next National Prescription Take Back Day is Saturday, October 28.

In the more than two years since new regulations made the disposal of controlled prescription drugs easier for patients and their caregivers, law enforcement agencies, pharmacies, hospitals and clinics have begun continuous collection of these medications.  To visit a collection site between Take Back Days, go to www.rxdrugdropbox.org.

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