News Release
September 29, 2010
Contact: Special Agent Ramona Sanchez
Public Information Officer
(602) 664-5725

Arizona Residents Dispose of over 3 Tons of Prescription Drugs
More than 6,200 pounds of Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medicine
Collected in First-Ever Statewide Take-Back Effort

SEP 29 -- PHOENIX– Today, Elizabeth W. Kempshall, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), announced that over 6,200 pounds of prescription drugs were collected during Operation Take-Back Arizona. The one-day DEA nationwide campaign was held on September 25, 2010 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and provided Arizonans the ability to properly dispose of their unwanted and expired medications in a safe and environmentally sound way.

Over 33 police and sheriff departments throughout Arizona hosted 74 collection sites where Arizona residents came out in force to support the first statewide prescription drug “Take-Back” campaign and rid their households of unused, unwanted and expired medication.

“The first ever National Take Back Day was a huge success,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Elizabeth W. Kempshall. “The removal for safe disposal of over 3 tons of prescription drugs is an invaluable tool that Arizona law enforcement agencies are pleased to provide to the communities of our state.  DEA is grateful for the cooperation of our local law enforcement partners for participating in this ground-breaking operation to reduce the availability of potentially addictive and dangerous prescription medications and bring public awareness to an important issue impacting our youth, families and communities.”

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are increasing at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. 

Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

In Arizona, one in five teens has reported abusing prescription drugs.

This campaign would not have been successful without the assistance of our state and local police departments, sheriff’s offices, U.S Attorney’s Office, Arizona Attorney General’s Office and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Arizona Chapter. 

# # #