Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) medication disposal sites have collected more than 2 million pounds of unwanted, unused, and expired drugs during the five DEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days held to date. On the fifth DEA Take-Back Day held September 29, 2012, over 5,263 DEA-coordinated disposal sites were available across the country, providing consumers with a safe, convenient method to rid their homes of unneeded medications.
Providing convenient disposal sites remains important, as the 2011 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicates that among people who abuse prescription drugs, over 50% obtain them from family and friends for free. Safe medication disposal helps to prevent the drugs from falling into the wrong hands and is one of four strategies for reducing prescription drug abuse outlined in the White House report, Epidemic: Responding to America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis (PDF). “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,” as noted in a DEA press release (PDF). NABP, through the AWARxE Consumer Protection Program, encouraged consumer participation in the fifth DEA Take-Back Day.