14 Tons of Rx Drugs Collected in Florida Drug Take-Back Days

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Press Release: US Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration

MAY 02 – (MIAMI, FL) – The United States Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) Sixth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this past Saturday collected 50 percent more pills than the previous one, demonstrating the American public’s continued appreciation and need for the opportunity to discard unwanted, unused and expired prescription drugs from medicine cabinets, bedside tables, and kitchen drawers.

Last Saturday, April 27, the DEA Miami Field Division partnered with its state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners to establish 124 collection sites across Florida and collected approximately 28,000 pounds (14 tons) of unwanted or expired prescription drugs. In Northern Florida, 3 tons were collected, Tampa area, 6 tons, Orlando area, 3 tons, and 2 tons in South Florida (all weights approximate). In the six Take-Back events held to date, Floridians have safely disposed approximately 46 tons of unwanted or expired prescriptions drugs.

DEA Miami Field Division, Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville stated, “We continue to see an increase in the amounts of drugs collected from the community during these Take-Back events, and we applaud all Floridians who have taken these opportunities to safely dispose of their unused and unwanted medications. Due to the increase in the collection of unwanted medications, DEA and its partners will continue to hold Take-Back events until proper regulations are in place for Floridians.”

Nationwide, DEA and its partners working at more than 5,829 locations, collected 742,497 pounds (371 tons) of prescription medications from members of the public. When added to the collections from DEA’s previous five Take-Back events, more than 2.8 million pounds (1,409 tons) of prescription medications were removed from circulation.

According to the 2011 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than six million Americans abuse prescription drugs. That same study revealed more than 70 percent of people abusing prescription pain relievers got them through friends or relatives, a statistic that includes raiding the family medicine cabinet.

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposal, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of these medications.

The DEA’s Take-Back events are a significant piece of the White House’s prescription drug abuse prevention strategy released in 2011 by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Disposal of unwanted, unused or expired drugs is one of four strategies for reducing prescription drug abuse and diversion laid out in Epidemic: Responding to America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis. The other strategies include 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.

Shortly after DEA’s first Take-Back Day event two-and-a-half years ago, Congress passed, and President Obama signed, the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amended the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to allow the DEA to develop permanent, ongoing, and responsible methods for disposing of controlled-substance medications. Prior to the passage of the above-cited Act, the CSA provided no legal means for transferring possession of controlled substance medications from users to other individuals for disposal. On December 21, 2012, DEA published a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” on the Disposal of Controlled Substances that seeks to implement the above-cited Act.

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