DEA leads first nationwide prescription drug "Take-Back" day

September 21, 2010

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), working with government, community, public health, and law enforcement partners, will hold a prescription drug "Take-Back" initiative that seeks to prevent increased pill abuse and theft.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), working with government, community, public health, and law enforcement partners, will hold a prescription drug “Take-Back” initiative that seeks to prevent increased pill abuse and theft.

DEA will collect potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction at sites nationwide on Saturday, Sept. 25, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. The service is free and anonymous, and no questions will be asked.

The initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse, according to DEA. The rate of prescription drug abuse in the United States is increasing at an alarming rate, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses connected with these drugs. Studies show that most abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

“Prescription drug abuse is the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem, and take-back events like this one are an indispensable tool for reducing the threat that the diversion and abuse of these drugs pose to public health,” said Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

In addition, many individuals don’t know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away, actions that are potential hazards to safety and health.

DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said the initiative symbolizes the agency’s commitment to stopping the rise in addiction caused by the misuse and abuse of prescription medications.

“Working together with our state and local partners, the medical community, anti-drug coalitions, and a concerned public, we will eliminate a major source of abused prescription drugs, and reduce the hazard they pose to our families and communities in a safe, legal, and environmentally sound way,” she said.

Collection sites in every local community can be found at www.dea.gov. The site will be continuously updated with new locations.

Other participants include the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Association of Attorneys General, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, the Federation of State Medical Boards, and the National District Attorneys Association.