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Over 121 tons of drugs turned in for DEA's "Take-Back" campaign

  1. SamanthaRabbit
    Tons of potentially dangerous pills were taken out of Texas medicine cabinets on Saturday, Oct. 2, thanks to citizen participation in the first ever "Take-Back" campaign by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

    Across the nation, more 121 tons of obsolete prescription drugs, laying around in homes, were properly disposed.

    The DEA says the results of this first ever campaign were "successful" and "overwhelmingly."

    Overall, over 242,000 lbs of drugs were turned in for safe and proper disposal. More than 4,000 take back sites were available in all 50 states.

    “The Take-Back Campaign was a stunning nationwide success that cleaned out more than 121 tons of pills from America’s medicine cabinets, a crucial step toward reducing the epidemic of prescription drug abuse that is plaguing this nation,” said DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “Thanks to our state and local law enforcement and community partners—and the public—we not only removed these dangerous drugs from our homes, but also educated countless thousands of concerned citizens about the dangers of drug abuse.”

    More than seven million Americans abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

    Every day, on average, 2,500 teens use them to get high for the first time, according to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

    Studies show that over 70% of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

    October 06, 2010



  1. AdamM
    He He

    A great story to hear! :applause:
    If only they would crack down on the evil pharmaceutical companies stop selling dangerous pills and poisoning everyone with "chill-pills" and "pick-me-ups" and "put-me-downs."
  2. SamanthaRabbit
    ^^Isn't that the truth about pharmecutical companies. Just because some medications out these days are sometime considered less harmful than the medications before them, I fear for myself for what these medications prescribed to me today are going to do in the long run...
  3. Code9
    How does this method reduce the amount of recreational prescription drugs available for abuse on the black market? Lets have some fun with numbers..!

    Lets first agree that only a small fraction of prescription drugs have any abuse potential at all. Lets say for the sake of argument that 5% [1] of available medications have any abuse potential. That reduces the payload from 242,000 to 12,000 lbs[2]. So each of the 4000 sites obtained 3lbs of 'recreational' medications Lets also assume that the 4000 sites were distributed in such a way that everyone had equal access to one site. This means that 1 site covered 77,000 people. So the effort acquired 0.018g (or 18 mg) of 'recreational' medications per capita.

    Next using some raw data from [3] we can see that 294,250,000 prescriptions on average are given for opiates and benzodiazepines each year. Also according to the DEA, people were returning medications that were many years old (up to 50 years). Lets say that most medications returned fall into the 10 year range and for every past year there were 10% fewer prescriptions given. A running total brings us to a possible pool of 1.9 billion prescriptions of opiates and benzos. For the sake of argument, we'll assume that each prescription weighs on average 5 mg. But how many pills are given on average per prescription? Who knows, there is no such data available to me [4]. Lets guess though, for fun. We'll say that 50% of patients take these meds for a short period, say two weeks, twice a day, and 50% take them full time, three times a day. Brute calculations gives us 1.916 billion prescriptions over 10 years. Consider that dose and filler weight are factors in this too so I feel this is a conservative estimate. The result is a ludicrous result of 5.38 billion grams (11.87 million lbs) of prescriptions over the 10 year span, which is a less-startling 17 g of opiates and benzos prescribed per capita over 10 years. (where's MY share you say?)

    Anyway, the point of this exercise is to show that the DEA might have recovered roughly 0.10% of prescribed opiates and benzos from the last 10 years[5]. That is, unless they've all been gobbled up by a bunch of wide-eyed pac-mans and that all the DEA scored was a bunch of beta-blockers grandma had been keeping around since grandpa died. Now that I think of it, this is probably the case and I could have saved myself a lot of time.

    [1] According to source the most abused prescriptions are opiates and benzodiazepines and make up for 5%. So my admittedly rough calculations do not account for any other prescription and non-prescription recreational medications.
    [2] Lets hope they didn't count the bottle weights (they probably did).
    [3] I've used only opiates and benzodiazepines in these calculations because of limited data and to follow logically from Note [1]. Also, this is a government source so it's value is poor. My calculations account for Diazepam, Alprazolam, Morphine, Clonazepam, Hydrocodone, Codeine, Propoxyphene, Lorazepam. Also, I couldn't find (I didn't look too hard) any average dosage data that could help in determining weight.
    [4] Okay! okay! My numbers are rough but the IMS Health has a monopoly on industry data and they don't want to share with me...!
    [5] None of this is accurate or precise and is only intended to give proportionality to DEA data reporting.
  4. Paradox
    SWIM sort of hopes that an ambitious SWIMmer somewhere decided to pose as the DEA for a day and made off with a truckload of pills.
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