Udall Encourages New Mexicans To Participate In National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Sen. Tom Udall

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM, encourages New Mexicans to participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day event this Saturday, Sep. 27 and turn in unused or expired medication at designated locations in their communities – dropoff booth in Los Alamos is in the parking lot at LAMC.

He also praised a new U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) policy, similar to legislation he has sponsored, that will enable pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and other authorized collectors to serve as drop-off sites for unused prescription drugs in the future.

Saturday’s event, sponsored by the DEA, provides free, anonymous drop-off sites throughout the state for safe medication disposal. Residents can search online by county, city or zip code for the collection site nearest them by clicking here or calling 1-800-882-9539 for more information. Sites are added daily.

“New Mexico has taken significant steps toward combatting prescription drug abuse and misuse, but we must continue the fight against the prescription drug abuse epidemic,” Udall said. “Events like the Prescription Drug Take-Back Day can help New Mexico families protect their loved ones from the threat of drug abuse, and I encourage New Mexicans to take advantage of this free and anonymous opportunity to help ensure we keep unused or expired prescriptions out of our medicine cabinets, out of our water systems, and most importantly, out of the hands of our children. I’ve consistently pushed for easier ways for New Mexicans to properly dispose of unwanted medication, and I’m pleased the DEA has recognized the need to move beyond Drug Take-Back Days to provide New Mexico communities with ongoing opportunities for safe drug disposal at certain pharmacies, hospitals and clinics.”  

While the Prescription Drug Take-Back Day events have been an effective tool to collect unused prescription drugs, Udall introduced legislation to encourage more ongoing opportunities for prescription medication disposal. Under new regulations published earlier this month by the DEA, certain DEA registrants, including pharmacies, hospitals and clinics will be able to modify their registration to become authorized collectors of unwanted or expired medication. These collectors will be able to provide collection receptacles at their registered location, and collectors with an on-site means of destruction may operate a mail-back program. These authorized collectors may be found by calling the DEA Office of Diversion Control’s Registration Call Center at 1-800-882-9539.

According to the Department of Justice, over half of the unintentional drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2011 involved prescription drugs. While New Mexico continues to face alarming rates of addiction, recent data released by the New Mexico Department of Health indicate that the rate of drug overdose deaths among New Mexico residents fell by 16 percent between 2011 and 2013, to the lowest drug overdose rate in the state since 2009.