Montgomery, AL – On April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., local law enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its eighth opportunity in three years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Citizens are encouraged to bring their prescription pills to a disposal site, but they should note that the DEA cannot accept liquids, needles, or “sharps,” only pills or patches. The service is free and anonymous, there will be no questions asked. To locate a disposal site near you, go to:
Citizens may also ask their local police departments and sheriff’s offices for disposal locations. The DEA may be able to locate convenient disposal sites for you by calling 1-800-882-9539.
Last October, Americans turned in 324 tons (over 647,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at over 4,114 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners. When those results are combined with the seven previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 3.4 million pounds—more than 1,700 tons—of pills.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, 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, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash— pose potential safety and health hazards.
“This Take Back day is one way that citizens can help combat the growing threat of prescription drugs,” stated U.S. Attorney Beck. “We ask all of our citizens to use this day to help make their homes a safer place for their family and friends.”
“Take Back is an important step in ridding our country of lethal, illegal drugs,” stated DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Clay Morris. “The amount of drugs that we have disposed of in the past speaks volumes about the need to develop a convenient way to rid homes of unwanted or expired prescription drugs. Until such laws are passed, Law Enforcement is the only entity citizens can legally and safely dispose of these drugs.”
The DEA is in the process of approving new regulations that implement the Safe and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” (that is, a patient or their family member or pet owner) of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances.
Each collection site will be supervised by a law enforcement officer due to the involvement of controlled substances.