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MCAO News Releases

Posted on: October 24, 2011

County Attorney Partners With DEA on Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

PHOENIX, AZ (October 24, 2011) – On Saturday, October 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. members of the public will have an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by dropping off potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs in front of Target at Village Center, located at the corner of Cactus Road and Paradise Village Parkway West in Phoenix. This free and anonymous service is offered by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in partnership with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

“Prescription drugs are now second only to marijuana as the most common form of substance abuse in America, and the rates of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs is alarmingly high,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “It is imperative that citizens properly dispose of unused medicines and we are honored to work with the DEA to address this vital public safety and public health issue,” he added.

Last April, Americans turned in 376,593 pounds—188 tons—of prescription drugs at nearly 5,400 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,000 state and local law enforcement partners.

Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

Four days after the first Take-Back event in September 2010, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. DEA has begun drafting regulations to implement the Act, a process that can take as long as 24 months. Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.

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