Tunnell Cancer Center a drop-off location for drug take-back Oct. 26

Beebe Medical Center is joining the State of Delaware in participating in a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) effort to give the public the opportunity to rid their homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.

The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. Members of the public will be able to bring prescription drugs to the lobby of the Tunnell Cancer Center on Saturday, Oct. 26, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tunnell Cancer Center is located on the Beebe Health Campus at 18941 John J. Williams Highway (Route 24) in Rehoboth Beach. This is the seventh time in three years that the nationwide drug take-back event has taken place.

Last April, Americans turned in 371 tons (more than 742,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law-enforcement partners. In its six previous Take Back events, the DEA and its partners took in more than 2.8 million pounds — more than 1,400 tons — of pills.

The initiative is designed to address a public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse, officials noted. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are considered alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.

Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now being advised that 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.

The 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 pet or their family member or owner) of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The law also allows the Attorney General to authorize long-term-care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances.