Monday, February 25, 2013
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has announced that it will once again partner with local police departments and pharmacies on April 27 to collect and safely dispose of unused pharmaceuticals. The event will be the sixth National Take-Back Day in two years, but it is unclear if there will be a seventh as the federal government continues to take steps to return collection responsibilities to local officials and private organizations.
In December 2012, the DEA proposed regulations that would remove some of the legal barriers that make it more difficult for communities to implement local pharmaceutical collection programs. If approved, the new regulations would allow authorized manufacturers, distributors, and retail pharmacies to set up collection boxes at their facilities or launch a mail-back program. The proposal is still several stages away from being law–the public comment period ended on Feb. 19, 2013–but the DEA has indicated that if the regulations are approved it will end its national events in favor of more localized programs.
Communities throughout the country began implementing permanent collection programs even before the DEA introduced National Take-Back Days. And these efforts continue as more and more launch their own programs. Permanent collection boxes are now available in nearly every state, although the number, coverage area, and accepted medicines vary quite a bit across states. Some programs are run as state, county, or municipal programs, while others are headed by private organizations. For example, pharmacies in Kansas accept uncontrolled medicines, vitamins, and pet medications year-round. In Utah, though, residents can take all unwanted medications to regularly scheduled state-wide take back events and to permanent collection boxes in local police and sheriff departments throughout the state.
In the Great Lakes region, organizations like the National Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal Program (P2D2) and the Yellow Jug Old Drugs Program continue to help communities set up collection programs that residents can use year-round. To learn what programs are operating in your area, visit web.extension.illinois.edu/unusedmeds/disposal/.
The DEA's sixth National Take-Back Day will run from 10:00am to 2:00pm on April 27, 2013. For more information, visit www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback. Details on specific collection locations will be available starting April 1 at the same website.
Written by: Anjanette Riley, IISG Science Writer