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Last year, 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. Additionally, deaths in the U.S. from overdoses of prescription painkillers more than tripled in the past decade.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that remain in home cabinets are highly susceptible to 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.
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.
The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Sparks Police Department and Reno Police Department have also partnered together to offer permanent prescription drug collection sites at their agencies:
Washoe County Sheriff’s Office – 911 Parr Blvd., Reno
Sparks Police Department – 1701 East Prater Way, Sparks
Reno Police Department – 455 E. 2nd St., Reno
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. Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.