09.25.15

SCHUMER ANNOUNCES: THE DEA WILL RESTART SUCCESSFUL DRUG TAKE-BACK PROGRAM TODAY; PROGRAM ALLOWS NEW YORKERS TO DISPOSE OF HIGHLY-ADDICTIVE DRUGS; SCHUMER URGED DEA TO REVERSE PREVIOUS DECISION TO END NATIONAL DRUG TAKE-BACK DAY PROGRAM AMID RISING OPIOID ABUSE ACROSS UPSTATE NY

National Take-Back Days Allow Police To Collect Addictive Rx Drugs To Ensure They Do Not End Up In The Wrong Hands – Feds Suspended Program In May, Despite Its Success In Collecting Excess Rx Drugs And Amid Spike In Opioid & Painkiller Abuse

Schumer Successfully Pushed DEA To Restart National Take-Back Program In July After Upstate NY Reported 700+ Overdoses in 2015  

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) will restart its successful National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day today, Friday, September 25. Schumer explained that, in July, the DEA announced it would restart the Take-Back program -- after Schumer’s urging -- which collects and safely disposes of prescription drugs from patients who no longer need them. The DEA had previously announced it would discontinue the program. Following this news, Schumer urged the DEA to reverse its decision after the spike in opioid abuse over the last year, which led to over 700 cases of overdose across Upstate New York. Schumer said the Take-Back program, which collects excess prescription drugs, has been hugely successful in reducing painkiller abuse cases and saving lives.

“When something works, you should stick with it; and Drug Take-Back Days help remove dangerous and highly-addictive drugs from our streets. Under this DEA program, across the country, pharmacies and hospitals will collect and dispose of prescription drugs that otherwise could have ended up in the wrong hands,” said Schumer.  “Far too many families and communities are torn apart by these highly addictive, unwanted prescription drugs – and this program will now continue to help save lives and combat this scourge.

Schumer said the decision to restart the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Program would have a positive impact on reducing prescription drug addiction and ensure prescription medication was being disposed of in a safe manner. Schumer said there is overwhelming evidence that the Take-Back program has been successful in collecting excess prescription drugs from medicine cabinets across Upstate New York and nationwide. According to the DEA, on its 9th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on September 27, 2014, the federal agency, along with its 4,076 national, tribal, and community law enforcement partners, collected 309 tons (617,150 pounds) of unwanted prescription drugs at 5,495 sites across the country. The DEA says this brought the total amount of drugs collected nationwide in four years of drug take-back days to 2,411 tons (4,823,251 pounds). According to DEA data, the September 2014 take-back allowed 198 law enforcement partners at 299 sites to collect 17.3 tons (38,798 pounds) across New York State alone. Schumer cited these numbers as evidence of the program’s success and a key reason why he fought for its renewal after the DEA temporarily discontinued it.

Schumer has long supported measures to combat prescription drug abuse, and noted prescription drugs in particular are often a gateway to other illegal opioids such as heroin. He reported that community organizations say that people who become addicted to prescription opioids are turning to even cheaper highs available on the street, such as heroin. Schumer has long fought for an increase in federal appropriations to fund the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, which provides local law enforcement the resources they need to combat opioid abuse throughout New York. In addition, Schumer successfully urged the DEA to reclassify painkillers like hydrocodone as a Schedule II controlled substance – which would require a written or electronic prescription that must be signed by the practitioner, among other stricter requirements to authorize the use of this drug.

Schumer said New Yorkers can find a DEA Drug Take-Back Site nearest them by using the Collection Site tool.  

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