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New Orleans Field Division Collects Over 33,000 Pounds on Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

NOV 01 (NEW ORLEANS) – Six years after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) launched its National Prescription Drug Take Back Day; Americans continue to turn out in large numbers to rid their homes of unused medications.

On October 22, 2016, DEA’s 12th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, the New Orleans Field Division (NOFD) and its community law enforcement partners collected 33,048 pounds of unwanted, unused and expired prescription drugs at collection sites throughout the division.  The amounts collected for each state within the NOFD was the following: Louisiana – 3,471 pounds; Mississippi – 2,598 pounds; Alabama – 3,545 pounds; and Arkansas – 23,434 pounds.  Nationally, 731,269 pounds – almost 366 tons - of prescription drugs were turned in by the general public across the country. 

 “We are pleased at the response of the public once again, and we thank them for participating in this important event - making their homes and communities safe from possible prescription drug abuse or theft,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Stephen G. Azzam.  “With the continued support and hard work of our state and local law enforcement and community partners, these Take-Back events have increased awareness of the opioid epidemic and offered the public a safe and anonymous way to dispose of unwanted and expired medications.”

Unused medicines in the home are a problem because the majority of the 6.4 million Americans who abused controlled prescription drugs (CPD) in 2015, including the almost 4 million who abused prescription painkillers, say they obtained those drugs from friends and family, including from a home medicine cabinet, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health released last month.  Some painkiller abusers move on to heroin:  Four out of five new heroin users started with painkillers.  Almost 30,000 people—78 a day—died from overdosing on these painkillers or heroin in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

In the last two years since new regulations made the disposal of CPD easier for patients and their caregivers, many law enforcement agencies, pharmacies, hospitals, and clinics have begun continuous collection of these medications.  To visit one of these thousands of collection sites between Take Back Days, go to the DEA Diversion site  or rxdrugdropbox.org.

Parents and children are encouraged to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.JustThinkTwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.  

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