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DHSS Press Release

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

Date: November 5, 2013


Third Highest Total Ever Collected in Delaware

Delaware collected 5,258 pounds of unwanted or expired medicine during the Oct. 26 Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Division of Public Health. It was the third highest total ever collected at a Delaware Drug Take-Back event and the highest total for a fall collection date. Since the first statewide Drug Take Back event was held in May 2010, Delaware's eight Drug Take-Back Days have collected a total of 33,592 pounds of unwanted or expired medicines.

"Prescription drug diversion and abuse is a critical public health issue," said Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) Director Dr. Karyl T. Rattay. She credited Bill Leitzinger, administrator of DPH's Office of Healthy Environments, for successfully coordinating Delaware's Drug Take-Back Days with the DEA. State partners include Governor Markell's Office, Delaware Health and Social Services, the Department of State, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, and the Attorney General's Office.

The Drug Take-Back events are a significant piece of DPH's prescription drug abuse prevention efforts and the Prescription Drug Action Committee (PDAC), chaired by Dr. Rattay and Dr. Randeep Kahlon, Immediate Past President, Medical Society of Delaware. "We are taking a comprehensive approach to addressing the prescription drug epidemic," Dr. Rattay said. "Education of the public and health care providers is key. Additionally, it is important that people have access to appropriate pain management as well as substance abuse treatment. The Prescription Monitoring Program, implemented by the Department of State, is having a tremendous impact on decreasing doctor shopping and the prescribing of controlled substances. One recent step forward is a new requirement for practitioners with controlled substance licenses to register for access to the Prescription Monitoring Program." Read the PDAC's final recommendations at

The DEA, citing the 2011 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Survey on Drug Use and Health, reported that more than 70 percent of people abusing prescription pain relievers got them through friends or relatives, a statistic that includes raiding the family medicine cabinet. Twice as many Americans regularly abused prescription drugs than the number of those who regularly used 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.

The cumulative Delaware Prescription Drug Take-Back Day collections are:

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.
April 27, 2013 6,122 lbs.
October 26, 2013 5,258 lbs.
TOTAL 33,592 lbs.

For recommendations on handling unwanted or expired prescription drugs, contact the DEA at 1-800-882-9539.

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.