On Saturday, Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. City Drug and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your medications for disposal to City Drug located at the downtown square. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Last April, Americans turned in 552,161 pounds (276 tons) of prescription drugs at over 5,600 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,300 state and local law enforcement partners. In its four previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in over 1.5 million pounds -- nearly 775 tons -- of pills.
"I was shocked at the amount of stuff we collected last year," said City Drug owner Danny Dedmon.
Thinking that it would be a good idea to get involved in the DEA-sponsored event, Dedmon called and was surprised to find that no one in the area was participating. After a successful event last year, City Drug marked the date on its calendar for the next event. Dedmon commented that he was most surprised that last year's participants were not people he knew. According to Dedmon, they were grandparents, aunts, uncles, wives and so on that just wanted a place to dispose of these items. A police officer from the Dyersburg Police Department was on hand last year to ensure the security of the prescription drugs that have been turned in and will be present once again this year. A DEA representative then collects the turned-in items at the DPD office.
The initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including one 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 event, 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 is drafting regulations to implement the act. Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.