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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Encourages Californians to Turn in Old Prescription Drugs

Friday, April 29, 2011
Contact: (415) 703-5837

SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris encourages Californians to participate in “Prescription Drug Take-Back Day” tomorrow by taking their expired, unwanted and unused prescriptions to an official drop-off center to ensure proper disposal.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day provides a safe alternative to fouling our lakes and rivers or creating a risk of prescription drugs falling into the wrong hands. Californians can bring prescription medications and over-the-counter tablets or capsules to any of the nearly 200 collection centers participating across the state. To search a list of drop-off locations, go to www.dea.gov and click on the “Got Drugs?” icon.

Collection centers are open on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Many of the sites, which are staffed by law enforcement officials, are at local police stations. The medications will be destroyed following federal and state regulations.

Unused prescription drugs left sitting in a medicine cabinet contribute to drug abuse, especially among teenagers. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control released a study showing that one out of five high school students in America abuses prescription drugs.

Other recent studies show that prescription drug abuse is soaring. The 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that there are some 6.2 million non-medical users of prescription drugs in the United States, and there are more Americans abusing prescription drugs than abusing cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin combined.

Approximately 3,000 state and local law enforcement agencies across the country participated in the first National Take-Back Day last year, when more than 121 tons of prescription drugs were collected.

The Attorney General’s office has been at the forefront of efforts to combat prescription drug abuse in California. In addition to costing the state millions of dollars each year, prescription drug abuse can have serious public safety consequences. Many abusers hold down regular jobs, including driving trucks, operating transit vehicles, and working in medical facilities.

Tomorrow’s Take-Back Day is an easy way to properly dispose of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Prescription drugs are potentially dangerous if left in the medicine cabinet or thrown away – and should not be flushed down the toilet to end up in our waterways.

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