Results are in for the most recent Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, held statewide on April 28, and the event appears to have been a big success for Union City, said Rhea Serran, communications and marketing manager for the City.
A total of 165 pounds of left-over and unused prescription drugs was collected in Union City, Serran reported. Regionally, a whopping 20,915 - or, more than 10 tons - was collected for safe and proper disposal in northern and central California.
Nationwide, a new record was set, with 552,161 pounds - or 276 tons - of drugs being turned in.
Drugs collected by the Union City Police in this event will be incinerated, Serran explained.
“We are thankful for the tremendous response from the community, which has significantly reduced the potential for diversion or misuse of prescription drugs,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams. “The success of this event would not be possible without our law enforcement and community partners, who hosted a total of 173 collections sites, making it convenient for citizens to take part.”
Serran said, this initiative addresses "a vital public safety and public health issue," as 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, she added - more 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.
Four days after the first Take-Back event in September 2010, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications 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.
The DEA is in the process of drafting regulations to implement the Act.
Did you miss Drug Take-Back Day, but you still have prescription drugs you need to get rid of? Serran said, Washington Hospital, located at 2500 Mowry Ave. in nearby Fremont, can collect prescription drugs year-round.