The first one worked so well -- in Minnesota and across the country -- that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and its local law enforcement partners are doing it again.
Clean out that medicine cabinet, folks. The DEA wants your old prescription drugs.
On Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the DEA will hold its second National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day at sites from the northern edge of the Twin Cities across the northern part of the state.
People can bring their old, unwanted, expired prescription drugs and turn them in anonymously, no questions asked.
Last September, people across the United States turned in more than 242,000 pounds -- about 121 tons -- of prescription drugs at about 4,100 sites operated by state and local agencies working with the DEA.
In Minnesota, the DEA and the sheriffs of metro area counties, the state Department of Public Safety, the State Patrol and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency collected 4,240 pounds of medications. That included 435 pounds of controlled substances such as Vicodin, Xanax, Percocet and OxyContin, said Dan Moren, assistant special agent in charge of the DEA's local office.
Moren said he's hoping for an even better haul this time. It's an important initiative.
Simply put, prescription drug abuse has become one of the country's largest public safety and public health issues. More Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin combined, according to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Most of the abused prescription drugs are obtained -- often for free -- from family and friends, and from the home medicine cabinet.
Moren said locations of the collection sites are still to be finalized. As we get closer to April 30, you can find the site nearest you by visiting www.dea.gov, clicking on "Got Drugs?" and entering your ZIP code.
James Walsh • 612-673-7428