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DHSS Press Release

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

Date: October 3, 2014


October 3, 2014 (Dover, DE) - Delaware collected 4,707 pounds of unwanted or expired medicine during the September 27 Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, a partnership between the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH). Since the first statewide Drug Take-Back event was held in May 2010, Delaware's 10 Drug Take-Back days collected a total of 44,775 pounds of unwanted or expired medicines.

This was the last national Drug Take-Back event as the DEA published new rules on drug disposal on September 9 at or at Delaware Board of Pharmacy and Controlled Substance Advisory Committee are reviewing the new Federal Rules to determine if there is a need to enact or change any Delaware laws and to establish any procedures or disposal guidelines, said David Mangler, director of the Division of Professional Regulation within the Delaware Department of State (DOS). In related efforts to reduce prescription drug availability, DOS also has successfully implemented the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PMP) to track the prescribing of controlled substances and reduce doctor shopping.

"Providing continuous drug collection opportunities will prevent unwanted or expired prescription drugs from falling into the wrong hands and leading to pill abuse, addiction, and overdoses," said Dr. Karyl T. Rattay, DPH director. "Prescription drug diversion and abuse is a critical public health issue."

In 2013, the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health admitted 1,793 adults for treatment of opiates, compared to 48 adults admitted in 2000 - an increase of more than 3,600 percent.

"People who are struggling with addiction need to know that treatment works and people do recover," said Secretary Rita Landgraf of Delaware's Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS). "To reduce the toll that the addiction epidemic is having on our state we are adding to our treatment capacity, increasing awareness about prevention, and working with medical and law enforcement officials to reduce the diversion of prescription medications."

From January through August of this year, 132 people died in Delaware from suspected drug overdoses, compared to 99 Delaware deaths in car accidents for all of 2013.

One of the recommendations of Delaware's Prescription Drug Action Committee (PDAC) included establishing long-term drug collection opportunities. PDAC, chaired by Dr. Rattay and Dr. Randeep Kahlon, immediate past president, Medical Society of Delaware, also called for the support of the PMP, increasing physician and pharmacist training, and an aggressive public outreach effort to reduce prescription drug abuse. Read the PDAC's final recommendations at

Cumulative Delaware Prescription Drug Take-Back Day collections statistics:

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.
April 26, 2014 6,476 lbs.
September 27, 2014 4,707 lbs.
TOTAL 44,775 lbs.

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

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person's spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit 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. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, drink almost no sugary beverages.

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.