Drug Enforcement Administration

New York

Raymond P. Donovan, Special Agent in Charge

May 03, 2013

Contact: Erin Mulvey

Phone Number: (212) 337-2906

DEA Collected A Record Amount Of Unwanted Rx Medication In The State Of New York

NEW YORK - The United States Drug Enforcement Administration’(DEA’s) Sixth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this past Saturday collected 50 percent more pills nationally and 55 percent more in New York State than last September, demonstrating the American public’s continued appreciation and need for the opportunity to discard unwanted, unused and expired prescription drugs from medicine cabinets, bedside tables, and kitchen drawers.

On April 27th, 55,146 pounds of prescription medications were collected in New York State from members of the public making a total of 742,497 pounds collected nationally.  In New York State the collection will be incinerated at an ‘energy-from-waste’ facility which is an environmentally safe method for disposal. 

DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell stated, “This year, New Yorkers from Montauk to Niagara Falls embraced the opportunity to discard over 55,000 pounds of unused and expired prescription medications lingering in medicine cabinets.  On a daily basis, New Yorkers misuse diverted pain medication, not knowing how it could affect them.  Experimenting with and abusing prescription medication has resulted in too many overdose deaths among our youth and this record breaking amount of medication collected has been disposed of in an environmentally safe manner while simultaneously cutting off a source of supply for those who abuse prescription medication.”  SAC Crowell would like to thank members of the public at more than 400 locations throughout the State of New York, manned by hundreds of state, federal, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies and long term care facilities that partnered with DEA on the event.

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.

According to the 2011 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and (NSDUH), twice as many Americans regularly abused prescription drugs than the number of those who regularly used cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and inhalants combined.   That same study revealed more than 70 percent of people abusing prescription pain relievers got them through friends or relatives, a statistic that includes raiding the family medicine cabinet. 

The DEA’s Take-Back events are a significant piece of the White House’s prescription drug abuse prevention strategy released in 2011 by the Office of National Drug Control Policy.  Disposal of unwanted, unused or expired 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; enhancing and encouraging the establishment of prescription drug monitoring programs in all the states; and increased enforcement to address doctor shopping and pill mills.

Shortly after DEA’s first Take-Back Day event two-and-a-half years ago, Congress passed, and President Obama signed, the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amended the Controlled Substances (CSA) to allow the DEA to develop permanent, ongoing, and responsible methods for disposing of controlled-substance medications.  Prior to the passage of the above-cited Act, the CSA provided no legal means for transferring possession of controlled substance medications from users to other individuals for disposal. On December 21, 2012, DEA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Disposal of Controlled Substances that seeks to implement the above-cited Act.

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