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Police to Help Santa Monicans Dispose of Prescription Drugs

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
By Lookout Staff

April 18, 2013 -- Santa Monicans will get another chance this month to rid their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. 

On April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Santa Monica Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will be stationed in front of the Santa Monica Police Department at 333 Olympic Drive to make it easier to dispose of the drugs. 

“An officer will be available at the curb to make it easier for you to just drive up and drop off your unused or unwanted prescription drugs,” said Sgt. Richard Lewis, the Police Department spokesman. “The service is free, anonymous and no questions will be asked.”
Last September, Americans turned in 244 tons of prescription drugs at over 5,200 sites, authorities said.  In its five previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in more than 2 million pounds, or over a thousand tons, of pills.  
This initiative addresses “a vital public safety and public health issue,” authorities said. 

“Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse,” authorities said. “Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.”

Most abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet, studies have shown.

Flushing unused medicines down the toilet or throwing them in the trash poses potential safety and health hazards, police said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Under the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications can dispose of the drugs 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. 

Until the DEA finishes drafting regulations to implement the Act, local law enforcement agencies like Santa Monica and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events.

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