New York, NY - May 9, 2016 - Thousands of Americans in communities across the country discarded more than 400 tons of unused, expired, or unwanted drugs as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Initiative (NTBI) on Saturday, April 30, 2016.
Last weekend, more than 4,200 federal, state and local counterparts collected unused, expired or unwanted drugs at more than 5,400 collection sites across the United States. This was the 11th NTBI event since September 2010; cumulatively, these events have collected 893,498 pounds of drugs.
The New York Division, consisting of offices in Manhattan, Long Island, Westchester, Plattsburgh, Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse collected 45,280 pounds.
“These results show that more Americans than ever are taking the important step of cleaning out their medicine cabinets and making homes safe from potential prescription drug abuse or theft,” said DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. “Unwanted, expired or unused prescription medications are often an unintended catalyst for addiction. Take-Back events like these raise awareness of the opioid epidemic and offer the public a safe and anonymous way to help prevent substance abuse.”
The NTBI addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. The majority of prescription drug abusers report in surveys that they get their drugs from friends and family. Americans understand that cleaning out old prescription drugs from medicine cabinets, kitchen drawers, and bedside tables reduces accidents, thefts, and the misuse and abuse of these medicines, including the opioid painkillers that accounted for 20,808 drug overdoses—78 a day—in 2014 (the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Eight out of 10 new heroin users began by abusing prescription painkillers and moved to heroin when they could no longer obtain or afford those painkillers.