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April 27, 2012
For More Information, contact:
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
Suzanne Webb (334) 242-7351
Jeff Sommer (334) 353-2199
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Alabama Attorney



(MONTGOMERY)— Alabama’s Attorney General, U.S. Attorneys and State
Health Officer are reminding people that National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is
this Saturday, 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 have been promoting coordinated state efforts for more
widespread participation in this program for the safe disposal of prescription drugs.

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, by viewing a Google map,
http://g.co/maps/q2a9g, 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 have been 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

The call by the Attorney General, the U.S. Attorneys and the State Health Officer
has been answered by 50 law enforcement agencies that registered at 71 collection sites
across the state – an increase of more than 40 percent participation from October 2011.
The success of this event is based upon community partners working with law
enforcement to address this growing issue.

“We are pleased that many law enforcement agencies have joined 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. This Saturday, 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 on Saturday 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

“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.”
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“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.”

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 continue to reach 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