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DHSS Press Release

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

Date: October 3, 2012


Delaware residents participated in the second 2012 Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on September 29 turning in more than 4,561 pounds of unwanted or expired medications at the 30 take-back collection sites statewide. The amount of medication turned in by residents is the second largest amount collected in state history.

"Collectively, we are reducing the potential for prescription drug abuse and keeping unwanted medications from entering our water supply," Gov. Jack Markell said. "Drug Take-Back Days are one way to give Delawareans a safe and secure way to dispose of their expired and unused medications and we are looking at ways to help people dispose of their old medications in a more permanent ongoing way."

Since the first statewide Drug Take Back event was held in May 2010, the six Take-Back Days have collected a total of 22,212 pounds of medicines. The statewide Drug Take-Back Day event is an important component to addressing the issues of prescription drug diversion and abuse, and increased awareness of this critical public health issue. Along with the Governor's Office, the state departments of Health and Social Services, State and Safety and Homeland Security, the Attorney General's Office, the federal DEA, and the Delaware Cancer Consortium partnered together in support of the event.

"Prescription drug abuse can destroy families and endanger communities," said Attorney General Biden, whose Medicaid Fraud Control Unit operated collection sites in each of three counties. "Properly and safely disposing of prescription drugs keeps the medication from falling into the wrong hands."

"I offer my appreciation and my thanks to the people of Delaware for the way that they have embraced the collection days," said Rita Landgraf, Delaware Health and Social Services secretary. "By disposing of their unwanted or expired medications at secure locations across the state, they are doing their part to reduce the potential for abuse of prescription medications."

The Take-Back events are a significant piece of DPH's prescription drug abuse prevention efforts and the Prescription Drug Action Committee. The Prescription Drug Action Committee (PDAC) is a partnership with the Medical Society of Delaware, chaired by Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. The PDAC is looking at permanent ways that other states use to encourage people to turn in expired and unused medications. Recommendations for this initiative will be finalized by the end of the year.

"By getting dangerous drugs out of their medicine cabinets, Delaware residents are keeping unused and unwanted drugs off the streets and away from children and others who may misuse them," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. "The Drug Take-Back Day is an important part of a comprehensive strategy being developed by the PDAC to combat prescription drug abuse in Delaware."

Often, some of these medicines languish in the home and are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. According to the latest results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 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, heroin, and inhalants combined. In 2009, the Delaware Health Statistics Center reported 137 deaths in Delaware due to drug overdoses. Eighty percent of drug overdose deaths in that year involved one or more prescription drugs.

For more information on future Drug Take-Back Day events or recommendations on the safe disposal of medicines, contact DPH's Healthy Homes Program at 1-800-464-HELP (4357).

Total Amount of Medications Collected at Delaware's Statewide Drug Take Back Programs:
Event Date - # Pounds
May 14, 2010 - 1,680 lbs.
September 25, 2010 - 303 lbs.
April 30, 2011 - 4,395 lbs.
October 29, 2011 - 4,465 lbs.
April 28, 2012 - 6,808 lbs.
September 29, 2012 - 4,561 lbs.
TOTAL - 22,212 lbs.

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.