May 12, 2014
Contact: SA Debbie Webber
Phone Number: (504) 840-1100
New Orleans Field Division Collects Over 33,000 Pounds On Prescription Drug Take Back Day
NEW ORLEANS - On April 26, 2014, the New Orleans Field (NOFD) participated in the 8th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, with 245 collection sites within the division, so that the public could discard unwanted, unused and expired prescription drugs. Over the course of four hours 33,980 pounds of prescription drugs were turned in by the general public within the division. Last October, the NOFD collected 26,048 pounds of prescription drugs. This year’s record-breaking number represents an increase of over 7,000 pounds!
“Prescription drug trafficking and abuse is our nation’s fastest growing drug problem and destroys countless lives. This widespread problem can only be countered by an effective collaboration among law enforcement, the medical community, and the public to identify and stop those responsible for the illegal distribution and abuse of prescription drugs in our communities. This initiative provides a safe way for our citizens to dispose of their unwanted prescription drugs and reduce the threat they pose to public health,” said Special Agent in Charge Keith Brown.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that linger 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 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one person dies from prescription drug abuse every 19 minutes and opioid pain relievers are involved in more overdose deaths than cocaine and heroin combined. Studies show that more than 54 percent of those who abuse prescription pain relievers got them through friends or relatives, 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 the “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them.