On April 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Mount St. Mary's Hospital and the Drug Enforcement Administration will give the public its eighth opportunity in three years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring pills for disposal to the north entrance of Mount St. Mary's at 5300 Military Road in the Town of Lewiston.
The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches.
Last October, Americans turned in 324 tons (more than 647,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 4,114 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners. When those results are combined with what was collected in its seven previous "Take Back" events, DEA and its partners have taken in more than 3.4 million pounds - over 1,700 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 a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines - flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash - both pose potential safety and health hazards.
DEA is in the process of approving new regulations that implement the Safe and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an "ultimate user" (that is, a patient or their family member or pet 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.