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As of October 9, a new DEA regulation will allow pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and other authorized collectors to accept unused prescription drugs.
Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday announced a new Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regulation that would allow pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and other authorized collectors to accept unused prescription drugs. It takes effect on October 9.
The new rules also authorize long-term care facilities to collect controlled substances turned in by residents and other consumers to either mail in or otherwise return unused medications to authorized collection sites.
Holder said the new changes are an effort to reduce drug abuse, noting that nearly 40% of teenagers who abuse prescription drugs obtain them from their home.
“These shocking statistics illustrate that prescription drug addiction and abuse represent nothing less than a public health crisis,” Holder said in a video posted on the U.S. Justice Department’s website. “Everyday, this crisis touches – and devastates – the lives of Americans from every state, in every region, and from every background and walk of life.”
For the past several years, the DEA has held Take Back Days during which people could return unused medications to designated collection sites across the country. During that period, over 4.1 million pounds-or more than 2,100 tons-of prescription pills have been collected. The next prescription drug Take Back Day is scheduled for Saturday, September 27.
“The Department of Justice has taken aggressive steps to fight back-by targeting the illegal supply chain; by disrupting so-called ‘pill mills’; and by expanding public health, education, and law enforcement efforts,” Holder said. “But we also recognize that much of this work must start at home….Through new DEA regulations, patients will be allowed to more easily join the fight against prescription drug abuse by dropping off their leftover medications at pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and other ‘authorized collectors’.”