DEA’s National Take Back Initiative


     On October 29, 2011, from 10am to 2pm, in cooperation with state and local law enforcement agencies, DEA will conduct a national take-back day for the public to surrender expired, unwanted, or unused pharmaceuticals and other medications to law enforcement officers for proper disposal.  Prevention, treatment, health care professionals, coalition groups and the business community are working together to establish safe collection sites for all Americans, regardless of where they reside. 

     This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.  According to the 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than seven million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs.  Each day, approximately, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time according to the Partnership for a Drug Free America.  Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including the home medicine cabinet.

     In an effort to address this problem, DEA in conjunction with state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the United States conducted National Prescription Drug Take Back Days on Saturday, September 25, 2010 and April 30, 2011.  These efforts were a huge success in removing potentially dangerous prescription drugs, particularly controlled substances, from our nation’s medicine cabinets.   Nearly, 4,000 state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the nation participated in these events, collecting more than 309 tons of pills.

    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 developing this process after President Obama signed the Safe and Secure Drug Disposal Act of 2010 on October 12, 2010.  Until that process is complete, however, DEA will continue to hold Take Back Days every six months.

    DEA has scheduled another National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, October 29, 2011, from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm., to provide a venue for persons who want to dispose of unwanted and unused prescription drugs.  DEA is working with program partners, including the Philadelphia Fire Department, to identify firehouses and other sites in Philadelphia where citizens can drop off their expired, unwanted, or unused pharmaceuticals and other medications.  Additional information about the October event, including a link to locate a collection site near you, will be posted on the DEA website or you may call 215-238-5171.  



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