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Health And Public Safety

Bernalillo County Partners with DEA Office for Drug Take-Back Event

04/21/2017

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and UNM’s Health and Sciences Center are encouraging the public to participate in DEA’s 13th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. as part of the prevention and education component of the New Mexico Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Initiative. 

To raise public awareness about the nationwide event on April 29, the HOPE Initiative Partners and DEA are collaborating with the City of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County and Healing Addiction in our Community (HAC) in hosting a promotional Drug Take-Back event on Tuesday, April 25 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. during “Truckin’ Tuesday” in Civic Plaza. 

This promotional event will provide city and county employees and others who work in the downtown Albuquerque area with a safe, convenient and responsible way of disposing of unused, unwanted or expired medications.

“Unused, unsecured prescription drugs, particularly opiates and benzodiazepines, can be stolen and diverted for illegal sale. This is not good for law enforcement and not good for our communities as we work to stem the tide of addictions,” said Bernalillo County Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins. “Local governments are very grateful to DEA for their 'take-back' initiative and other efforts to keep these illegal drugs off our streets.”

Last year in New Mexico, DEA and 50 law enforcement partners collected almost 4,400 pounds of medication at 79 collection sites throughout the state.  Overall, in its 12 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 7.1 million pounds – more than 3,500 tons – of pills. 

Unused medicines in the home are a problem because the majority of the 6.4 million Americans who abused prescription drugs in 2015, including almost 4 million who abused prescription painkillers, say they obtained those drugs from friends and family, including from a home medicine cabinet, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health released last month.  Some painkiller abusers move on to heroin:  four out of five new heroin users started with painkillers.  Almost 30,000 people – 78 a day – died from overdosing on these painkillers or heroin in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Members of the public can find a nearby Prescription Drug Take-Back collection site by visiting www.dea.gov, clicking on the “Got Drugs?” icon, and entering their zip code into the search window, or they can call 800-882-9539.  Only pills and other solids, like patches, will be accepted at DEA Drug Take Back collection sites – the public should not bring liquids, needles or other sharp items to take back sites.  This service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. 

 

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