The American Public Overwhelmingly Responds to DEA Prescription Drug Take-Back Effort
The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced the overwhelmingly successful results of the first national prescription drug take-back initiative. The U.S. public turned in more than 242,000 pounds of prescription drugs for safe and proper disposal. More than 4,000 take-back sites were available in all 50 states.
“The Take-Back Campaign was a stunning nationwide success that cleaned out more than 121 tons of pills from America’s medicine cabinets, in a crucial step toward reducing the epidemic of prescription drug abuse that is plaguing this nation,” DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said in a statement in October. “Thanks to our state and local law enforcement and community partners—and the public—we not only removed these dangerous drugs from our homes, but also educated countless thousands of concerned citizens about the dangers of drug abuse.”
Congress cleared legislation for President Obama that will allow the DEA to create a framework for a permanent solution for prescription drug disposal. Currently, there are no legal means to transfer possession of certain prescription drugs for disposal. Until permanent regulations are in place, however, the DEA will continue to hold one-day take-back programs.
“I applaud Congress for recognizing the magnitude of this threat to public health and safety and for passing the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which will provide Americans with safe, environmentally sound ways to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs,” said Leonhart.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy Director R. Gil Kerlikowske agreed. “I commend the DEA under Acting Administrator Leonhart’s leadership for its efforts in coordinating this important nationwide prescription drug take-back effort,” he said. “More than 70 percent of people who abuse prescription drugs get them from friends or family – often from the home medicine cabinet. Expanding take-back efforts nationwide is a key strategy in preventing prescription drug diversion and abuse, while safeguarding the environment.”
“The International Association of Chiefs (IACP) of Police is proud of the success of this very important initiative and the level of participation from so many law enforcement agencies around the country,” said IACP Immediate Past President Michael Carroll. “The IACP fully supports this take-back effort because expired, unused, or unwanted controlled substances in the home represent a potential source of supply for the increasing abuse of pharmaceutical drugs in the United States and pose an unacceptable risk to public health and safety.”
The DEA and other law enforcement working at disposal sites around the country reported huge turnouts of people ridding their medicine cabinets of unused or unwanted drugs. For example, in Troy, Missouri, a man literally brought his kitchen drawer full of medication to the collection site to empty. At another site in Jacksonville, Illinois, a woman brought in nearly 50 years’ worth of medicines for disposal.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. More than 7 million U.S. citizens abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health. And every day, on average, 2,500 teens use them 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 from the home medicine cabinet.
Besides the DEA, other participants in this initiative include the Partnership for a Drug-Free America; the International Association of Chiefs of Police; the National Association of Attorneys General; the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy; the Federation of State Medical Boards; and the National District Attorneys Association.
Leading by Legacy Program
From July 24 to July 26, the IACP’s Leading by Legacy Program held its first leadership and management training for rural law enforcement agencies in Salt Lake City, Utah. Thirty law enforcement officials representing twenty-three states from across the country participated in the two-and-a-half-day training. Throughout the event, trainers focused on the importance of developing a legacy in three major areas: the individual, the organization, and the community.
To begin the event, trainers emphasized core values as the foundation for a legacy and facilitated an exercise whereby participants created a legacy statement that reaffirmed their commitment to integrity, compassion, and professionalism. Trainers then guided participants through principles of leadership and decision making; ideas for developing leadership within their organizations; and needs identification for their communities through survey assessments. The training featured interactive role plays, small group discussions, and action planning to assist each participant to lead today based on the legacy they want to leave tomorrow. One participant remarked after attending the training, “It has opened my eyes to what I have to do to be a better leader and supervisor.”
The Leading by Legacy Program will hold a series of no-cost trainings throughout 2011 and is currently accepting applications. Applicants must be executives, command staff, or first-line supervisors from rural jurisdictions to be eligible for consideration. In addition, the program also offers the following no-cost resources:
- On-site Technical Assistance
- Resource Toolkit CD-ROM
Information on upcoming events, eligibility requirements, and how to access these free resources can be found on the Leading by Legacy web page at http://www.theiacp.org/leadingbylegacy.
National Law Enforcement Policy Center
In 1987, the IACP entered into a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance to establish a National Law Enforcement Policy Center. The center’s objective was to assist law enforcement agencies across the country in the critical and difficult task of developing and refining law enforcement policy. To date, more than 120 policies have been released. The latest policy topics are the following:
- Arrests update;
- Eyewitness Identification update (formerly Showups, Lineups, and Photographic Identifications);
- License Plate Readers;
- Off-Duty Arrests update;
- Temporary Light Duty update;
- Social Media; and
- Missing Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Organized under the direction of a broad-based advisory board of recognized law enforcement professionals, the center has carried out its mission through the development of a wide variety of model law enforcement policies. Each model incorporates the research findings, the input of leading subject experts, and the professional judgment of advisory board members who have combined this information with their extensive practical field and management experience. The end product is some of the best contemporary thinking in the field.
The policies addressed by the center are selected because they represent some of the most difficult issues facing law enforcement administrators. The policy center continues to develop models in other priority areas.
To receive model policies as they are published, readers are encouraged to join the center as a subscribing member. The subscription to the policy is sent electronically and provides each agency with policies in Microsoft Word documents and as PDFs. To subscribe, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-THE-IACP, extension 319.■