News Release
Date: May 01, 2012
Contact: Mia Ro, PIO
Number: 954-660-4602

DEA Miami Division Has Record Event
Floridians Dispose of Prescription Drugs

May 01 - (Weston, FL) - During the fourth Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative on April 28, 2012, Floridians turned in approximately 17,820 pounds (8.9 tons) of unwanted or expired prescription drugs. DEA’s Miami Field Division partnered with its state and local counterparts to establish 149 collection sites across the state. In Northern Florida, two tons were collected, Tampa area, 3 ½ tons, Orlando area, 2 1/3 tons, and one ton in South Florida (all weights approximate). In the four Take-Back events held to date, Floridians safely disposed of 23 ¾ tons.

Nationwide, Americans turned in a record-breaking 552,161 pounds (276 tons) of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at the 5,659 take-back sites that were available in all 50 states and U.S. territories. When the results of the four Take Back Days to date are combined, the DEA and its state, local, and tribal law-enforcement and community partners have removed over 1.5 million pounds (774 tons) of medication from circulation.

“With this record setting turnout, Floridians are sending a loud and clear message that they are listening to DEA about the dangers of prescription drugs getting into the wrong hands,” said DEA Miami Field Division, Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville. “The success of events like this is only possible due to the support and participation from our communities and our local law enforcement partners working together.”

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 2010 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.

Four days after the first Take-Back event in September 2010, 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 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 is in the process of drafting regulations to implement the Act.