The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) wants to help you prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding your home of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.
On Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the DEA and local law enforcement agencies will hold their fourth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day at sites nationwide.
In our area, the Foster City and San Mateo police are partnering in their efforts and have set up a drop-off location at the San Mateo Police Department (200 Franklin Parkway).
Law enforcement agencies in Burlingame, East Palo Alto and Redwood City are also participating here in San Mateo County.
The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
According to the DEA, Americans participating in three previous Take-Back Days turned in nearly a million pounds—almost 500 tons—of prescription drugs at over 5,300 sites operated by more than 4,000 of the DEA’s state and local law enforcement partners.
This initiative addresses an important public safety health issue.
Medicines that sit in home cabinets are sometimes susceptible to theft, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are high, according to the DEA. Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined, according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
“Prescription drug abuse is a major epidemic across the country and DEA is committed to reducing the potential for misuse by providing a safe and secure method for Americans to clean out their medicine cabinets and properly dispose of unwanted, unneeded, or expired medications,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart in a release. “Americans responded overwhelmingly to DEA’s first three Take-Back Day events, disposing of nearly 500 tons of medication in the past two years. This nationwide community effort prevents home medicine cabinets from becoming sources of dangerous – and even deadly – drugs."
The public can find a nearby collection site by visiting www.dea.gov, clicking on the “Got Drugs?” icon, and following the links to a database, where they enter their zip code.