This Saturday, September 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its sixth opportunity in three years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.This service is free and anonymous; no questions asked.

The New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center urges all New Mexicans to bring their medications for disposal at nearly 100 designated sites in 55 communities throughout the state, including military bases and Pueblos. Collection sites are being added almost daily, so for a current listing of drop-off points in your area, visit http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html.

Last September, Americans turned in 309 tons (more than 617,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at nearly 5,500 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners. When those results are combined with what was collected in its eight previous Take-Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in more than 4.8 million pounds (2,400 tons) of pills. 

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. 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. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.

Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines – flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash – both pose potential safety and health hazards.

For more information, visit the NM Poison and Drug Information Center. at http://nmpoisoncenter.unm.edu/.