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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: September 20, 2012


A new Prescription Drug Take-Back Day sponsored by the Division of Public Health and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is planned for Saturday, Sept. 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Delaware. The event is an opportunity to anonymously and safely dispose of unused medications.

"Expired or unused medicines in our medicine cabinets at home can far too easily be misused or abused," said Governor Jack Markell. "Pouring old medicine down the drain or throwing it away with the trash poses potential health hazards to our water supply. We help keep Delaware clean and healthy by properly disposing of old medications. Proper disposal also helps reduce prescription drug abuse, which is our fastest-growing drug problem."?

In previous Prescription Drug Take-Back Day events, Delawareans have responded in great numbers. On April 28, 2012, citizens turned in a record-breaking amount of 6,808 pounds of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at local collection sites. Since the first statewide Prescription Drug Take-Back Day was held in May 2010, a total of 17,651 pounds of medications have been removed from circulation in Delaware.

"Prescription drugs have been found in some Delaware water supplies where they could pose a health and safety hazard," said Rita Landgraf, Secretary of Delaware Health and Social Services (DHSS). "The Prescription Take-Back Day is a coordinated and carefully regulated opportunity to dispose of unused, unwanted and unneeded medications. It also is consistent with DHSS's commitment to addressing prescription drug abuse in Delaware."

Prescription drugs should only be used by the persons to whom they are prescribed. In addition to being illegal, using unauthorized drugs can cause irreversible medical damage to our brains, heart, liver and other organs. Addiction, injuries, suicides and accidental deaths can occur when people abuse prescription drugs.

"Research shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, Division of Public Health director. "Rates of prescription drug abuse in the country are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs."

For children, medications are the most common and deadly poisons. Persons under the influence of unauthorized prescription drugs commit crimes, cause accidents, and put law-abiding citizens in harm's way.

"Our children have access to prescription drugs in unprecedented numbers," said Megan Fioravanti, RN, BSN, NCSN, Red Clay school nurse. "This is a statewide problem that impacts everyone. The Drug Take-Back Day is an important event to get unused and unneeded prescription drugs out of the home and away from our kids."

Anyone can bring medications for disposal to 27 collection sites statewide. To find a collection site near you, visit: or call 1-800-882-9539. Prescription and over-the-counter pills, liquids, and cream medications will all be accepted - even pet medication. Injectables and aerosols are not included in the program, and will not be accepted. Collection is both free and anonymous. No questions or requests for identification will be made. Personal information should be removed from bottles and packages.

The medications will be collected in specially marked barrels or boxes, and then safely destroyed. The collection sites available on Sept. 29 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. are:

New Castle County:

Kent County

Sussex County

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.