A one-day nationwide effort to get people to turn in old or unwanted prescription drugs collected more than 121 tons of unused medicine, reports the Associated Press. With prescription drug abuse on the rise, the goal was to keep the drugs from falling into the hands of abusers and criminals. The Drug Enforcement Administration organized the national prescription drug “Take-Back” day Sept. 25. Officials offered a free, anonymous, and legal way to get rid of potentially dangerous prescription drugs cluttering medicine cabinets.
DEA spokesman David Ausiello said people across the U.S. flocked to more than 4,000 sites to get rid of old drugs and just about anything they got with a prescription that they didn’t need any more, including needles. An Illinois woman handed over drugs she’s collected for the last 50 years while a Missouri man hauled in a kitchen drawer packed with medicine. It’s illegal to turn over unused prescriptions to anyone other than law enforcement. Congress recently passed a bill allowing state and private entities to create drug take-back programs; it awaits President Barack Obama’s signature. DEA is likely to hold at least one more take-back day before any legislation takes effect. During the six years ending in 2006, there was a 175 percent increase in accidental prescription overdoses.