Turnout for DEA’s Fourth National
Prescription Drug Take-Back Day
May 7 (San Francisco) – California residents have again responded overwhelmingly to the most recent National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. On April 28 th, citizens from Northern and Central California turned in 20,915 pounds (more than 10 tons) of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal. A record 552,161 pounds (276 tons) was collected nationwide.
“We are thankful for the tremendous response from the community, which has significantly reduced the potential for diversion or misuse of prescription drugs.” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams. “The success of this event would not be possible without our law enforcement and community partners who hosted a total of 173 collections sites, making it convenient for citizens to take part.”
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high--more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined, according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
Four days after the first Take-Back event in September 2010, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications dispose of them 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. DEA is in the process of drafting regulations to implement the Act.