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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

DEA Authorizes Pharmacies, Other Entities as Take-Back Sites for Unused Prescription Drugs

September 11, 2014 | Opioid and Heroin Epidemic | Comments
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Disposing of unwanted prescription painkillers may soon be easier for consumers under new rules issued this week by the Obama Administration. On Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Drug Enforcement Administration issued a final rule allowing hospitals, pharmacies, medical clinics and other entities to serve as authorized drop-off sites for unused prescription drugs for the first time. The rule also authorizes long-term care facilities to collect unused prescription drugs from residents of those facilities, and prescription drug users everywhere will be allowed to directly mail-in their unused medication to authorized collectors.

The expansion of “authorized collectors” is part of an important CDC recommended strategy to help reduce prescription opioid diversion and misuse. According to the Justice Department, in 2011 there were more than 22,000 unintentional drug overdose deaths in the US involving prescription drugs.

This final rule builds on existing take-back programs run by the DEA. Since 2010, the DEA has collected over 4.1 million pounds of prescription pills. A take-back program coordinated in April resulted in the collection of 390 tons of prescription drugs from over 6,000 sites.

The next National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday, September 27th, 10:00 am -2:00pm. Click here to locate a take-back site in your community.