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May 09, 2017
Contact: Public Information Officer
Number: 212-337-2906

DEA Brings in Record Amount of Unused Prescription Drugs on National Prescription Take Back Day
New York Division Collected over 37,000 Pounds of Unused, Unwanted and Expired Prescription Medication

MAY 09 (MANHATTAN, N.Y.)  - The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) 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’s New York Division is responsible for collecting 37,769 pounds of the 450 tons of unused prescription drugs collected nationwide.   The New York Division worked with 162 state, local and federal law enforcement agencies at 242 collection sites throughout New York State.  Since its inception, 485,911 pounds of unneeded medication has been collected in New York State.  

DEA Special Agent in Charge James Hunt stated, “Over 37,000 pounds of unused, unneeded and expired medication were collected in New York on April 29, 2017.   This means that 18 tons will be incinerated at a waste-to-energy facility instead of being diverted for drug experimentation and abuse.   By removing unneeded medication, households are taking the first step in battling opioid addiction.”   SAC Hunt would also like to thank all of our law enforcement and community partners who participated in the DEA’s Take Back Day. 

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Initiative addresses a crucial public safety and public health 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.


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