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April 11, 2012
For More Information, contact:
Luther Strange
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
Alabama Attorney General
Suzanne Webb (334) 242-7351
Jeff Sommer (334) 353-2199
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(MONTGOMERY)— Alabama’s Attorney General, U.S. Attorneys and State
Health Officer today announced coordinated state efforts for National Prescription
Drug Take-Back Day on April 28. Attorney General Luther Strange, U.S. Attorney
George Beck for the Middle District of Alabama, U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance for
the Northern District, U.S. Attorney Kenyen Brown for the Southern District, and State
Health Officer Dr. Donald Williamson today held a news conference to promote more
widespread state participation in this program for the safe disposal of prescription

This is the fourth National Prescription Drug Take-Back, a program sponsored
by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to combat the abuse or misuse of
potentially dangerous medicines that have expired or are no longer needed by those for
whom these controlled substances were prescribed.

The Alabama Department of Public Health cites prescription drug abuse as an
emerging public health issue and the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem. According
to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2008, most of the deaths in the
U.S. that were due to drug overdoses were caused by prescription drugs. In Alabama,
the rate of prescription painkillers sold per 10,000 people in 2010 was among the highest
in the nation.

Many teenagers and young people who abuse prescription drugs get them from
family and friends or from their home medicine cabinets. According to a survey by the
Partnership for a Drug-Free America, one in five teens has tried Vicodin, a powerful
addictive narcotic painkiller; one in 10 has tried OxyContin, also a prescription narcotic;
and one in 10 has used stimulants such as Ritalin or Adderall for non-medical purposes,
and one in 11 admit to getting high on cough syrup.

Alabamians will have the opportunity to turn in their old prescription drugs at
drop-off points throughout the state on Saturday, April 28. A list of collection sites is
available online at the DEA website, www.dea.gov, or citizens may inquire with their
local police departments and sheriff’s offices. The DEA also may be contacted toll-free
by calling 1-800-882-9539.
501 Washington Avenue Montgomery, AL 36104 (334) 242-7300
www.ago.alabama.gov Page 2 of 3

Law enforcement agencies and interested community partners such as
pharmacies, schools, and civic groups are encouraged to work together to provide as
many local sites as possible throughout Alabama. Each site must be supervised by a law
enforcement officer due to the involvement of controlled substances. Those interested
in registering their agencies to host a collection site may do so through the DEA website
or by calling the number listed above.

“We hope that many law enforcement agencies will join us in being proactive to
organize collection programs within their local communities,” said Attorney General
Strange. “This is an important and basic step to fight drug abuse and drug-related
crimes, by assisting in the removal of potentially dangerous controlled substances from
our homes. Many of us have out-dated prescriptions that are too easily accessible to
children and others. These drugs can also be the target of home invasions and
burglaries. On April 28, we are asking the people of Alabama to protect their homes
and communities by locating medicines that are out of date or no longer needed, and
bringing them in for safe and proper disposal.”

“Proper disposal of prescription medicine is a vital weapon in the war on drugs,”
said U.S. Attorney Beck. “It is a weapon that we, the average citizen, can use to battle
the abuse of prescription and over-the-counter pills. Join our army to combat this
growing drug threat!”

“Abuse of prescription drugs is epidemic in the United States and everyone in
the community – law enforcement, parents, teachers, physicians, pharmacists – needs to
recognize the scope of this problem and work together to combat it,” said U.S. Attorney
Vance. “Participating in the Prescription Drug Take-Back this month will help in several
ways. It will draw attention to the widespread problem of prescription drug abuse;
provide a safe way to get unused and out-of-date controlled substances out of our
homes; and ensure that the drugs will be disposed in an environmentally safe manner.”

“Our highest shared goal is to protect the community. To that end the National
Prescription Drug Take Back Program is a very important initiative,” said U.S. Attorney
Brown. “All too often unused or expired prescription drugs remain in medicine
cabinets and are not properly disposed of. Often times these drugs end up in the hands
of those who would abuse their use, sometimes even by the children in our
communities. I strongly support the Take Back initiative as a means of keeping our kids
and communities safer.”

“Medications expire and lose their effectiveness,” Dr. Williamson said. “Safely
disposing of medications at these sites will reduce the risk of drug overdoses and will
help protect our families and the environment.”

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In addition to concerns of potential poisoning, abuse or overdose, it also is
important environmentally that medicines be disposed in a proper manner rather than
simply being thrown into garbage, flushed away, or poured down drains, as they could
contaminate water supplies and cause an environmental hazard.

Alabama’s participation in Prescription Drug Take-Back is part of a statewide
effort by a coalition of agencies to promote public awareness and education for the
prevention of drug abuse. The coalition will be reaching out to communities
throughout the state to address this growing problem. Agencies interested in joining
this effort may contact the Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Coordinator, Louis
Zook, by calling 334-353-1082.

Agencies currently active as partners in Alabama’s coalition effort to address
prescription drug abuse include the following:

Alabama Attorney General’s Office
Alabama Department of Environmental Management
Alabama Department of Mental Health
Alabama Department of Public Health
Alabama Pharmacy Association
Alabama Pharmacy Cooperative, Inc.
Central Alabama Crimestoppers
Council on Substance Abuse-NCADD
Montgomery County Public Schools
Montgomery Water Works and Sanitary Sewer Board
National Guard Counterdrug Unit
PASS, Peers Are Staying Straight
U.S. Attorney’s Office- Northern District
U.S. Attorney’s Office- Middle District
U.S. Attorney’s Office- Southern District
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
Local police departments, sheriff’s offices and drug task forces

Note: Today’s news conference may be viewed at the following link, and is
expected to be available after 1 p.m. today: