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DEA Sponsors Nationwide Take-Back Prescription Drug Day April 30

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With the overwhelming success of the first-ever DEA Take-Back Prescription Drug Day program in 2010 – in which more than 242,000 pounds of prescription drugs were turned in for safe disposal at more than 4,000 sites in all 50 states – the program returns this year on April 30.

Some of the returned prescription drugs collected September 25, 2010 amounted to veritable tons of unwanted medications. Here are some brief statistics:

Why this is Important

The initiative to take-back prescription drugs addresses an issue that’s vital to public health and safety. More than seven million Americans abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). More Americans are abusing prescription drugs than those using cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin combined, according to survey data. Every day, on average, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs for the first time to get high – according to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

Where do all the prescription drugs come from that are abused by so many Americans, including teens? Studies show that the majority of abused prescription medications are obtained from family and friends, often lifted right out of the home’s medicine cabinet.

Mark this Date: Saturday, April 30, 2011

The DEA has more information available on this year’s program on their website, but the date has been set for Saturday, April 30, 2011. Search for a collection site by entering your zip code or county, city, and state and choosing search radius of 10, 25, 50 or 100+ miles. If no collection site comes up, keep trying, as new collection sites are being added every day, says the DEA.

There’s another thing you can do. If you’re interested in organizing a Take-Back event in your community, contact your local police or sheriff’s office to see if they’re interested in operating a collection site in your area. Local law enforcement agencies interested in operating collection sites can register with the DEA by calling the DEA Field Division office in their area.

How to Get Ready

Take a thorough inventory of all the prescription drugs languishing in the back of medicine cabinets, in drawers and closets, in car glove compartments and boxes sitting in the basement or elsewhere. Note what the prescription drugs are for and whether or not they’re expired or still required by a member of the family. Gather together all the prescription drugs that you want to safely dispose of. Keep in mind that if you haven’t taken them in a long time, they should be kept around. To do so poses a danger to you and others who may decide to take them. They may be harmful in that they’re no longer potent, or contribute to overdose or serious health complications when taken by those for whom they haven’t been prescribed.

How can you bring them in? Actually, anything that holds them will work. During last September’s Take-Back Prescription Drug Day, people brought unwanted prescription drugs in big plastic garbage bags, storage containers, even kitchen drawers filled with containers of medications. The idea is to get them all together and secure them safely until the drop-off date. On April 30, 2011, take them to the collection site so they can be safely disposed of.

This is something every adult can do. Parents, especially, should be concerned about the safety and well-being of their own children as well as for their elderly parents. Get behind the effort and spread the word. Make this second National Take-Back Prescription Drug Day on April 30 an even bigger success than last year’s.

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