Drug Enforcement Administration

San Francisco

Christopher Nielsen, Special Agent in Charge

April 22, 2014

Contact: Casey Rettig

Phone Number: (415) 436-7994

Prescription Drug Take-Back Day On Saturday April 26

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - After collecting more than 84 tons of unwanted prescription medications in Northern California and the Central Valley over the past three-and-a-half years, the Drug Enforcement (DEA) and its national, tribal, and community law enforcement partners will hold another National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 26th.  The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Unused medications in homes create a public health and safety concern, because they are highly susceptible to accidental ingestion, theft, misuse, and abuse.  Almost twice as many (6.8 million) currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and inhalants combined, according to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.  And more Americans died in 2010 from overdoses of prescription (22,134, including 16,651 from narcotic painkillers) than from motor vehicle accidents, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Surveys of users have found that the majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

“The growing public response to this event demonstrates the increased awareness of the problem of prescription drug abuse.  Members of the community can help us combat this serious public health and safety issue by disposing unwanted medications at one of the many Northern California and Central Valley take-back locations,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Jay Fitzpatrick.

The public can find a nearby collection site by visiting www.dea.gov, clicking on the “Got Drugs?” icon, and following the links to a database where they enter their zip code.  Or they can call 800-882-9539.  Only pills and other solids, like patches, can be brought to the collection sites--liquids and needles or other sharps will not be accepted. 

DEA is in the process of approving new regulations that implement the Safe and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance (that is, a patient or pet owner or the patient’s caregiver) to 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.
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