The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its law enforcement partners reported a collection of 309 tons (617,150 pounds) of unwanted prescription drugs across 5,495 sites for its 9th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on September 27th.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back events began four years ago because the Controlled Substances Act did not create a legal means for patients and caregivers to discard unwanted controlled substances besides giving to law enforcement. At the time, pharmacies and hospitals were banned from accepting them. One week after the first National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 was enacted. This law authorized the DEA to develop and implement regulations that can be utilized by the public and long-term care facilities to transport controlled substances and other prescription drugs to authorized collectors for disposal.

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During this time, the DEA continued to hold the Take-Back events twice a year. With the new regulations, some DEA registrants (eg, manufacturers, distributors, reverse distributors, narcotic treatment programs, retail pharmacies, and hospitals/clinics with an on-site pharmacy) can now register to become authorized collectors. An authorized collector may have a collection receptacle at their location, and collectors with an on-site means of destruction may also have a mail-back program. All registrants can distribute pre-printed, pre-addressed mail-back packages for patients and caregivers to send back unused drugs to the mail-back program operators. Further, retail pharmacies and hospitals/clinics with an on-site pharmacy may regulate collection receptacles at long-term care facilities.

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