DEA Releases New Rules That Create Convenient But Safe and Secure Prescription Drug Disposal Options

In order to bolster the DEA’s work against prescription drug abuse, Attorney General Eric Holder has announced a significantly expanded drug take-back effort that will offer new ways for people to safely dispose of old or unused prescription drugs. In addition to authorizing new drop-off sites, the program will allow patients and family members to mail prescription medications to authorized collectors using pre-paid mail-back packages that they can obtain from their local pharmacy and other locations. For more information, please visit the DEA’s website at Unused medications in homes create a public health and safety concern, because they are highly susceptible to accidental ingestion, theft, misuse, and abuse. Almost twice as many Americans (6.8 million) currently abuse pharmaceutical controlled substances than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and inhalants combined, according to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Nearly 110 Americans die every day from drug-related overdoses, and about half of those overdoses are related to opioids, a class of drug that includes prescription painkillers and heroin. More than two-thirds (70 percent) of people who misuse prescription painkillers for the first time report obtaining the drugs from friends or relatives, including from the home medicine cabinet.