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Attorneys General Partner with DEA, Law Enforcement in Second Successful National Drug Take-Back Day

Attorneys General across the country participated in the second National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 30. The public turned in 376,593 pounds (188 tons) of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at one of more than 5,300 drop off sites. This is 55 percent more than the 242,000 pounds (121 tons) the public brought in during a similar day in September 2010 according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which led the effort. NAAG serves as an organizational partner.

Preventing drug abuse and promoting prescription drug safety remain a priority for the chief legal officers of the states. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin are just two examples of Attorneys General who spearheaded drug take back efforts in their respective states.

Sixty agencies in Indiana collected 8,096 pounds of unused prescription drugs across 85 sites -- up from 5,709 pounds collected across 53 sites last year. This second Take-Back Day also coincided with new legislation that was recently passed in response to the increased prescription drug abuse in the state. The House Enrolled Act 1121 revises statutory and regulatory requirements so pharmacies will be able to accept unused prescription drugs from consumers and dispose of them without the need for a monitoring police presence.

“The last Drug Take Back event demonstrated pent-up demand for a convenient way to dispose of old drugs. With the new law, pharmacies will be able to develop approved programs so they will be able to accept unused medication more often -- or continuously, if they choose," said Attorney General Zoeller.

In some other states, pharmacies already provide disposal bins where consumers can safely discard unneeded prescription pills, tablets and liquids. For pharmacies to offer in-store drug-disposal sites in Indiana without a police presence, however, state statute had to be changed. The House Enrolled Act 1121 will allow the Indiana Board of Pharmacy to adopt new rules allowing pharmacies to offer disposal programs supervised by private store security officers rather than local law enforcement officers.

Attorney General Kilmartin partnered with local police departments, as well as the Department of Elderly Affairs and the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH) to target constituencies that are high users of prescription medications and are at greater risk of being a victim of theft or fraud. Attorney General Kilmartin credits this cooperation for the dramatic increase in participation and awareness in Rhode Island. The number of participating law enforcement agencies increased from 14 the first year to 30 this year. The state collected 1,716 pounds— up from 780 pounds during the September 2010 event.

Other partners that joined in this collaborative effort include the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; the American Association of Poison Control Centers; the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America; D.A.R.E. America; the Federation of State Medical Boards; the U. S. Health Resources and Services Administration; the International Association of Chiefs of Police; the National Family Partnership; the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives; the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy; the National District Attorneys Association; the National Sheriffs Association; and The Partnership at Drugfree.org.

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