PHOENIX, AZ. – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is partnering with state, local, and tribal law enforcement officials, as well as community coalition groups to hold its third Statewide Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. This one-day event will make it convenient for the public to rid their homes of potentially dangerous prescription drugs.
On Saturday, October 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time, Arizonans will be able to drop off their expired, unused, and unwanted pills at sites across the state free of charge, no questions asked. By doing so, they will be helping prevent drug abuse and theft.
Arizonans participating in DEA’s two previous Statewide Prescription Drug Take-Back Day events turned in more than 12,200 pounds of prescription drugs at more than 95 sites manned by over 40 state, local and tribal law enforcement departments.
“The Prescription Drug Take-Back campaign will provide a safe way for A rizonans to dispose of their unwanted prescription drugs,” said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman. “This effort symbolizes DEA’s commitment to halting the disturbing rise in addiction caused by their misuse and abuse. With everyone’s support, we can reduce the risk of prescription drug diversion and abuse, while increasing the awareness of this important public health issue.”
Prescription drugs that languish in home medicine cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse, creating a public health crisis. The rate of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. today is at an alarmingly high level— two-and-a-half times more people currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, and inhalants combined, according to the recently released 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The same study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
The public can find a nearby collection site by visiting www.dea.gov and clicking the “Got Drugs?” banner, which links to a database where they can enter their zip code. Law enforcement agencies interested in hosting a collection site on October 29 can register with the DEA by calling their local DEA Field Division office (for a list of DEA Points of Contact for each state, click on the “Got Drugs?” banner on the website and then click on the “law enforcement” link).
Four days after DEA’s first event on September 25, 2010, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act and will allow users of controlled substance medications to dispose of their drugs 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. The DEA is in the process of drafting regulations to implement the Act.
Prescription drug disposal and the DEA’s Take-Back events are significant pieces of the White House’s Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan released this year by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Purging home medicine cabinets of neglected drugs is one of four strategies for reducing prescription drug abuse and diversion laid out in Epidemic: Responding to America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis. The other strategies include education of health care providers, patients, parents and youth; establishing prescription drug monitoring programs in all states; and increased enforcement to address doctor shopping and pill mills.