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DEA applauds huge turnout on Drug Take-Back Day | Environment

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DEA applauds huge turnout on Drug Take-Back Day
DEA applauds huge turnout on Drug Take-Back Day

ATLANTA -- Americans participating in the United States Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) second National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day event last weekend turned in more than 376,593 pounds of unwanted or expired medications.

This is 55 percent more than the 242,000 pounds the public brought in during last September's event.

The medications were taken to 5,361 take-back sites in all 50 states.

"The amount of prescription drugs turned in by the American public during the first two take-back events is simply staggering -- 309 tons -- and represents a clear need for a convenient way to rid homes of unwanted or expired prescription drugs," said DEA administrator Michele M. Leonhart. "DEA is hard at work establishing a drug disposal process and will continue to offer take-back opportunities until the proper regulations are in place."

Four days after last fall's Take-Back Day, Congress passed legislation amending the Controlled Substances Act to allow the DEA to develop a process for people to safely dispose of their prescription drugs.

DEA immediately began work on this process after President Obama signed the Safe and Secure Drug Disposal Act of 2010 on Oct. 12.

"Responding to our nation's prescription drug abuse epidemic requires a sustained effort from government, the private sector, the medical community, as well as families and individuals," said Gil Kerlikowske, director of the National Drug Control Policy. "The unprecedented amount of prescription drugs turned in by citizens last week will keep dangerous addictive drugs from being abused. I commend the DEA for its successful nationwide prescription drug take-back day and for their work to make it easier for communities to stay healthy while safeguarding the environment."

Purging America's home medicine cabinets of neglected 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; establishing prescription drug monitoring programs in all states; and increased enforcement to address doctor shopping and pill mills.