DEA, local agencies collecting and disposing of drugs


In an effort to slow down the rampant prescription drug abuse plaguing both this community and the nation as a whole, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is holding another national drug take-back event on Saturday, Oct. 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Those wishing to dispose of prescription medication that is sitting around in their medicine cabinets can do so locally at the Ocean View Police Department, Selbyville Town Hall, Dagsboro Police Department and Delaware State Police Troop 4 barracks in Georgetown.

Dagsboro Police Chief Floyd Toomey Jr. said that last April’s event resulted in Americans turning in approximately 188 tons of prescription drugs nationwide, and Sgt. Eric Watkins of the Ocean View Police Department said that his department alone had collected approximately 80 pounds at a similar event a few months ago.

It would appear that there are a lot of extra prescription drugs lying around, and the rising abuse of the drugs over the past several years makes for a dangerous combination.

“The abuse of pharmaceuticals is the second most-abused drug. Only marijuana ranks higher,” said Vito S. Guarino, acting special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Division of the DEA. “In 2010, 2.5 times more people abused prescriptions than cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin and inhalants combined. Last year, 2.4 million people 12 and older abused prescriptions for the first time and, of the 2.4 million, 1.9 million became dependent.”

Toomey said that Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 in September of that 2010, amending the Controlled Substance Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to spots designated by the Attorney General to accept them.

That act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long-term-care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances, and that can take as long as 24 months. Until those permanent drop-off locations are up and running, agencies will continue to hold these prescription drug take-back events every few months.

According to an article in the Las Vegas Sun last week, police in Henderson, Nev., are already installing the permanent boxes in several locations where residents can discard medications.

As for Saturday’s event, Michael J. Cannon of the DEA laid out a few ground rules:

• Tablets, capsules and all other solid dosage forms will be collected;

• Intravenous solutions, injectables and syringes will not be accepted.

For more information, call (800) 882-9539, or visit www.dea.gov and click on the “National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day” icon.