DEA National Drug Take-Back day collects nearly 16 tons from Pacific Northwest

Americans nationwide showed their support for the United States Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day program by dropping off more prescription pills than ever.

After seven previous Take Back Days spread over almost four years, 780,158 pounds (390 tons) of pills were brought to the 6,072 collection sites that DEA and its 4,423 state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners set up on April 26 so the public could discard unwanted, unused and expired prescription drugs from medicine cabinets, bedside tables, and kitchen drawers. When added to that collected at previous DEA-coordinated Take-Back events, 4.1 million pounds (2,123 tons) of prescription medications have been removed from circulation.

Residents of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Alaska turned in 31,738 pounds (15.9 tons) of prescription medications. This number is the second highest for the Pacific Northwest. Washington and Idaho both had record high collections.

Hoquiam police report record turnout for DEA Drug Take Back Day
Hoquiam police report record turnout for DEA Drug Take Back Day

The following are the results broken down by state:

· Washington – 89 collection sites which resulted in 16,677 pounds (8.3 tons) removed
from circulation.

· Idaho – 26 collection sites which resulted in 4,788 (2.4 tons) removed from
circulation.

· Oregon – 43 collection sites which resulted in 7,729 pounds (3.9 tons) removed from
circulation.

· Alaska – 31 collection sites which resulted in 2,544 pounds (1.3 tons) removed from
circulation.

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, secure, and environmentally responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse and trafficking of medications. This is important because the non-medical use of controlled substance (CS) medications is at an all-time high, with 6.8 million Americans reporting having abused prescription drugs in 2012, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) released in 2013. That same study revealed more than 54 percent of people who abuse prescription pain relievers got them through friends or relatives, a statistic that includes raiding the family medicine cabinet.

The DEA’s Take-Back events are a significant piece of the Obama administration’s strategy for preventing prescription drug abuse and trafficking, which also includes education of health care providers, patients, parents and youth; enhancing and encouraging the establishment of prescription drug monitoring programs in all the states; and increased enforcement to address doctor shopping and pill mills.

Take-Back Days are presently needed because the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as originally written did not provide a way for patients, caregivers, and pet owners to dispose of such CS medications as painkillers, sedatives, and stimulants like ADHD drugs. People were flushing their old meds down the toilet or throwing them in the trash.

DEA launched its first Take-Back event in September 2010, after which the President signed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amended the CSA to allow people, including residents of 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, publishing on December 21, 2012, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Disposal of Controlled Substances (available on our website – www.dea.gov) that presented possible disposal options.

Hoquiam police report record turnout for DEA Drug Take Back Day

The Hoquiam Police Department partnered with the DEA for yet another successful “Drug Take Back Day” over the weekend, collecting 312 pounds of prescription drugs. Police Chief Jeff Myers tells us their evidence custodian, Officer James Gaddis, staffed the police department lobby for the event. During the four hours, a total of 98 citizens stopped by to dispose of 312 pounds of medications. Myers said they filled eight large boxes, which will be shipped off to the DEA for incineration.

Since the Hoquiam Police Department began participating in the federal program 4 years ago, they have collected over 1142 pounds.

Myers added that by turning in medication at this free event, citizens were able to safety dispose of unwanted drugs; safe disposal prevents medications from getting into the hands of children, drug abusers and also keeps these chemicals out of the environment.

DEA Drug Take Back Day 2014

 

Results from previous years:

National Drug Take Back Program

 

September 25th 2010

89lbs

21 people

2 boxes

 

May 2nd 2011

135lbs

72 people

4 boxes

 

October 31st 2011

80lbs

28 people

3 boxes

 

April 30th 2012

124lbs

53 people

4 boxes

 

September 29th 2012

114lbs

23 people

3 boxes
April 28th 2013

122lbs

53 people

3 boxes

 

October 28th 2013

166lbs

76 people

5boxes

 

April 26th  2014

 

312lbs

98 people

8 boxes

Clean Out That Medicine Cabinet, The Right Way

The Drug Enforcement Administration and government, community, public health and law enforcement partners today announced a nationwide prescription drug “Take-Back” initiative that seeks to prevent increased pill abuse and theft.  DEA will be collecting potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction at sites nationwide on Saturday, September 25th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time.  The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

 

This 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. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are increasing at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.  Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.

 

“Today we are launching a first-ever National Prescription Drug Take-Back campaign that will provide a safe way for Americans to dispose of their unwanted prescription drugs,” said Michele M. Leonhart, Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “This effort symbolizes DEA’s commitment to halting the disturbing rise in addiction caused by their misuse and abuse.  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.”

“With this National Prescription Drug Take-Back campaign, we are aggressively reaching out to individuals to encourage them to rid their households of unused prescription drugs that pose a safety hazard and can contribute to prescription drug abuse,” said Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grindler.  “The Department of Justice is committed to doing everything we can to make our communities safer, and this initiative represents a new front in our efforts.”

“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 Director of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske. “The Federal/state/and local collaboration represented in this initiative is key in our national efforts to reduce pharmaceutical drug diversion and abuse.”

 

Collection sites in every local community can be found by going to www.dea.gov.  This site will be continuously updated with new take-back locations.  Other participants in this initiative 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.