On Saturday, October 26th, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, the Seattle Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Adminsitration (DEA) will give the public its seventh opportunity in three years 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 any one of the five Seattle Police Department precincts. Find out which one is closest by visiting our precinct map page at http://www.seattle.gov/police/maps/precinct_map.htm and clicking on one of the precinct icons. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Last September, Americans turned in 371 tons (over 742,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at over 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners. In its six previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in over 2.8 million pounds – more than 1,400 tons- of pills.
This 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 from the family medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medications – 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 and “ultimate user” (that is, a patient or pet or their family member or owner) 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.