SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Alaska Drug Take-Back Program Total Announced


November 04, 2011
Friday AM

(SitNews) Anchorage, Alaska - Just under 1,900 pounds of prescription medication was collected in Alaska during the third Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back event in October 2011. Nationwide (188.5 tons) of drugs came out of homes and turned over for proper destruction. On the Last Take Back Day event in April 2011, Alaskans turned over 1,603.6 pounds of prescription drugs.

In all, there were 34 locations in 27 communities around Alaska who participated in the event during October 2011. Communities participating in the event were Anchorage, Aniak, Bethel, Dillingham, Emmonak, Fairbanks, Girdwood, Glennallen, Hoonah, Juneau, Ketchikan, Klawock, Kodiak, Kotzebue, McGrath, Nome, North Pole, Palmer, Petersburg, Seward, Skagway, Sitka, Soldotna, St. Mary’s, Talkeetna, Valdez and Wasilla.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, enough prescription painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult around-the-clock for one month. Often, some of these medicines languish in the home and are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high - more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and inhalants combined, according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Studies show that the majority of teens who abuse prescription drugs obtain them from family and friends for free, including from the home medicine cabinet. Many Americans simply do not know how to properly dispose of their unused or expired medicine, often flushing it down the toilet or throwing it away. These methods can pose both safety and environmental hazards.

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. Each day approximately 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time according to the Partnership for a Drug Free America. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including the home medicine cabinet.

“With the continued support and hard work of our more than 3,945 state, local, and tribal law enforcement and community partners, these three events have dramatically reduced the risk of prescription drug diversion and abuse, and increased awareness of this critical public health issue,” said said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.

Until a safe disposal process for prescription medications is established nationwide, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will continue to partner with agencies like the Alaska State Troopers to hold Take Back Days every six months.

Four days after DEA’s first Take-Back Day event on September 25, 2010, Congress passed legislation amending the Controlled Substances Act to allow the DEA to develop a permanent process for people to safely and conveniently dispose of their prescription drugs. After President Obama signed the Safe and Secure Drug Disposal Act of 2010 on October 12, DEA immediately began developing regulations for a more permanent solution.


Sources of News: 

Alaska Department of Public Safety

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)


E-mail your news & photos to

Publish A Letter in SitNews         Read Letters/Opinions

Contact the Editor

SitNews ©2011
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

 Articles & photographs that appear in SitNews may be protected by copyright and may not be reprinted without written permission from and payment of any required fees to the proper sources.