DEA: Let pharmacies, police accept unused controlled substances

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 2, 2013 at 5:57 pm •  Published: January 2, 2013
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“Because the public has limited options for disposal, outdated and unwanted controlled substances often accumulate in medicine cabinets, easily within reach of children and teenagers,” DEA stated in its recent publication.

In fact, a 2010 study found that more than 50 percent of teenagers who took prescription drugs said they obtained their pills from the family’s medicine cabinet, according to the DEA.

“More than 70 percent of people abusing prescription pain relievers got them through friends or relative,” Kerlikowske said last week. “These proposed regulations will literally save lives by empowering local communities to properly dispose of these drugs on their own.”

The public has until Feb. 19 to submit feedback on the proposed regulations, and Congress will ultimately approve the wording.

Paul Doering, a professor at the University of Florida’s College of Pharmacy, said any pill handed over to authorities is one fewer pill on the street. But he’s unsure what impact the new policies will have on prescription-drug abuse.

“It’s a good gesture,” he said. “It’s a good thing on paper. I’m just curious as to whether or not it really makes a difference overall.”

Two years ago, the DEA held its first national prescription-drug take-back day, where drugs could anonymously be turned in to law-enforcement offices throughout the country.

Four other take-back days have occurred since then, and authorities have collected a total of more than 1,000 tons of prescription medications.

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©2013 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

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