SEATTLE - Americans have again responded overwhelmingly to the most recent DEA-led National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

On April 28, citizens turned in a record-breaking 552,161 pounds (276 tons) of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at the 5,659 take-back sites that were available in all 50 states and U.S. territories. When the results of the four Take Back Days to date are combined, the DEA and its state, local, and tribal law-enforcement and community partners have removed over 1.5 million pounds (774 tons) of medication from circulation.

In a four hour time period, residents of Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska, turned in 28,482 pounds (over 14 tons), record numbers for each state. The following are the results broken down by state:

* Oregon - 60 collection sites which resulted in 8,117 pounds (4.1 tons) removed from circulation.

* Washington - 97 collection sites which resulted in 13,426 pounds (6.7 tons) removed from circulation.

* Idaho - 30 collection sites which resulted in 4,245 pounds (2.1 tons) removed from circulation.

* Alaska - 37 collection sites which resulted in 2, 694 pounds (1.3 tons) removed from circulation.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high--more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined, according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

Four days after the first Take-Back event in September 2010, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an "ultimate user" of controlled substance medications dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them.

The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents' controlled substances in certain instances. DEA is in the process of drafting regulations to implement the Act.

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