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Research Review

CADCA Joins the DEA in Nationwide Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

On April 30, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its partners will hold their second National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day at sites nationwide, giving the public another opportunity to prevent medicine abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. For several years now, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) members across the country have been hosting successful take back programs with local law enforcement and the DEA.

Last September, Americans turned in more than 242,000 lbs—121 tons—of prescription drugs at nearly 4,100 sites operated by more than 3,000 of the DEA’s state and local law enforcement partners. The agency hopes to collect even more this spring by opening the event to long-term care facilities.

One of CADCA’s coalitions, The Alaska Safe Medicine Alliance, has been working with their local pharmacist association to make policy recommendations to the state legislature for an ongoing, state-wide disposal program. Program Manager Mary Sullivan says proper drug disposal can be a problem in their state. Their second drug take back event, held in conjunction with the DEA’s national event, collected more than 1,300 lbs of prescription drugs at four sites.

To further help coalitions respond to this epidemic, the CADCA designed the “Rx Abuse Prevention Toolkit: From Awareness to Action.” This unique toolkit provides the facts, approaches, strategies, and messages that coalitions can use to move communities beyond that first stage of awareness into action. A copy of the toolkit can be downloaded at www.cadca.org.

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 United States are alarmingly high—more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined, according to the 2009 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.

You find a nearby collection site by visiting www.dea.gov, clicking on the “Got Drugs?” icon, and following the links to a database, where you enter your zip code.

— Source: Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America