News Release
September 29, 2010
Erin McKenzie-Mulvey
Public Information Officer
(212) 337-2906
Don Caetano
Public Affairs Specialist
(212) 337-1266

DEA New York Field Division’s First-Ever
Nationwide Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

SEP 29 -- MANHATTAN, NY – JOHN P. GILBRIDE, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) , New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor BRIDGET G. BRENNAN, PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, LORETTA E. LYNCH, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, THOMAS A. FARLEY M.D., New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner, SALVATORE J. CASSANO New York City Fire Department Commissioner, JOHN P. MELVILLE, New York State Police Acting Superintendent, JUDITH ENCK Regional Administrator United States Environmental Protection Agency and RAYMOND W. KELLY New York City Police Commissioner announced a prescription drug “Take-Back” initiative for Saturday, September 25th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at more than 120 sites across New York City, Westchester and Long Island.

SAC Gilbride being interviewed by NBC at Grand Central Station Media at Grand Central filming individuals who dropped off their unused/unwanted/expired prescription drugs
SAC Gilbride being interviewed by NBC at Grand Central Station
Media at Grand Central filming individuals who dropped off their unused/unwanted/expired prescription drugs

NY 1 interviewing SAC Gilbride at Old St. Patricks Church in Little Italy during the San Genaro Festival Pills that were collected in one box in Chelsea, New York
NY 1 interviewing SAC Gilbride at Old St. Patricks Church in Little Italy during the San Genaro Festival
Pills that were collected in one box in Chelsea, New York

Headed by the DEA, the nationwide initiative seeks to prevent increased prescription pill abuse and theft. NYFD DEA special agents will partner with numerous law enforcement agencies to collect potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for disposal in New York State. The service is free and anonymous--no questions asked. Collection sites in every local community can be found by going to . This site will be continuously updated with new take-back locations.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans remain unaware that prescription medications stored in home medicine cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Across the country, rates of prescription drug abuse are increasing at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. According to 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health study, a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – methods that can present potential safety and health hazards.

DEA SAC JOHN P. GILBRIDE stated, “On September 25 DEA New York, along with our law enforcement, education and treatment partners will be launching our first-ever prescription drug take-back day as part of a national campaign to provide a safe way for New Yorkers to dispose of their unwanted, outdated and over the counter medications. This effort symbolizes DEA’s commitment to halting the disturbing rise in addiction caused by the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs. DEA would like to thank all agencies who allowed collection sites at their facilities and assisted in this public safety event.”

BRIDGET G. BRENNAN, SPECIAL NARCOTICS PROSECUTOR FOR THE CITY OF NEW YORK, stated, “Abuse of prescriptions drugs, and opiates in particular, is becoming an increasingly serious problem across the nation and here in New York City. The number of prescriptions filled for Oxycodone, a highly addictive and very powerful pain killer, have more than doubled in the city over the past two years. More and more young people are using prescription drugs recreationally, with an increasing number of drug-related emergency room visits as a result. In addition to the public health risks, we are seeing increased criminal activity, including sales of prescription drugs over the Internet, street sales, and even robberies committed to obtain pills. We are encouraging people to take a look at your medicine cabinets and get rid of whatever you’re no longer using.”

Manhattan U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA said: “The misuse of prescription drugs is a growing problem nationwide.  Home medicine cabinets should promote health, not dispense danger or serve as personal pharmacies.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is pleased to join this preventative initiative in an effort to reduce the number of tragedies resulting from prescription drug abuse, and to educate the public about the potential dangers associated with medication that is expired or disposed of improperly.”

U.S. ATTORNEY LORETTA LYNCH, EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK stated, “We are proud to be a partner in this national campaign to reduce the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs. This initiative will serve to educate the public about the dangers of drug abuse lurking in their medicine cabinets, and provide safe guidelines for the proper disposal of unwanted or unused prescription drugs.”

“The misuse of prescription drugs is a significant and growing problem among New Yorkers,” said DR. THOMAS FARLEY COMMISSIONER OF THE NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND MENTAL HYGIENE. “Although accidental drug overdose deaths involving cocaine and heroin are declining, deaths from prescription opioids, such as oxycodone, known by the brand names Oxycontin and Percocet, or hydrocodone, known as Vicodin, are increasing. Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax or Ativan, are involved in more than a third of all drug overdose deaths each year. And at least 8% of New York City high school students report using a medication that was not prescribed to them. No one should take medications not prescribed for them, and everyone should safely dispose of any medications they do not immediately need.”

"Dumping medication down the drain or flushing it down the toilet can lead to water contamination," said EPA REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR JUDITH ENCK. "Safely disposing of unused or expired medication helps prevent the adverse impacts of these drugs on the environment and aquatic life."

"As first responders in New York City, our EMTs, Paramedics and firefighters collectively respond to over a million medical calls every year," FIRE COMMISSIONER SALVATORE J. CASSANO said. "We're proud to work with the DEA to provide 25 firehouses and EMS Stations across all five boroughs where people can safely dispose of unwanted medications that, in the wrong hands, can leave people needing emergency medical care."

New York State Police Acting Superintendent John P. Melville said, “This campaign provides a safe way to dispose of harmful prescription drugs and raises awareness that individuals can help reduce the potential abuse of these drugs, by family and friends, by merely properly disposing of them.”

All participants in this initiative are listed on the attachment included with this release.

Click here for a list of Participating Agencies