Drug Enforcement Administration


Robert J. Murphy, Jr., Special Agent in Charge

November 07, 2013

Contact: Chuvalo Truesdell

Phone Number: (571) 362-3517

DEA’s Seventh Pill Take Back Event Yields Fruitful Results In South Carolina

Highest amount ever collected out of 7 previous Take-Backs

Atlanta Division National Prescription Drug Take-Back event.
Atlanta Division National Prescription Drug Take-Back event.
Atlanta Division National Prescription Drug Take-Back event.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolinians participating in the United States Drug Enforcement Administration’(DEA’s) seventh National Prescription Drug Take-Back event on Saturday, October 26, 2013, turned in 5,527.18 pounds of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at sites set up throughout the state.

Harry S. Sommers, the Special Agent in (SAC) of the DEA Atlanta Field Division commented, “DEA’s seventh Prescription Drug Take-Back campaign was a huge success both locally and nationally. While South Carolinians turned in 5,527.18 pounds of unwanted or expired medications, nationally, more than 647,211 (324 tons) of expired and unwanted prescription medications were collected with more than 5,683 sites that were available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. The local amount collected is the highest amount ever collected in the state out of the seven previous Take-Backs and the national amount collected is the second highest total ever collected. I would like to thank the multitude of (both law enforcement and non-law enforcement) who worked tirelessly to make this event another great success.”

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Prescription drugs that languish in home medicine cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high; more (6.8 million) currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens like LSD, and (sniffed household products) combined, according to the 2012 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.

Take-Back Days are presently needed because the Controlled Substances (CSA) as originally written didn’t provide a way for patients, caregivers, and pet owners to dispose of such controlled (CS) medications such as painkillers, sedatives, tranquilizers, and stimulants like ADHD drugs.  People were flushing their old meds down the toilet or throwing them in the trash, but in recent years medicines have been found in the nation’s water supplies, and medications were being retrieved from the trash by those who would abuse or sell them. 

To give people a more environmentally responsible and secure way to dispose of their meds, DEA launched its first Take-Back event in September 2010.  Four days later, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the CSA to allow people and, in some instances, long term care facilities to regularly, conveniently, and safely dispose of their CS medications by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. DEA is in the process of finalizing regulations to implement the Act.

SAC Sommers encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justthinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.

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