WASHINGTON, D.C. – A staff member for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will attend a National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day event tomorrow at the Sandusky County Health Department. The annual event, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration, is aimed at reducing the amount of expired or unused prescription drugs available for illegal use.
The Sandusky County Health Department, located at 2000 Countryside Drive in Fremont, will accept expired or unused prescription drugs from 10:00am until 2:00pm on Saturday, April 30, 2011. Individuals can bring old, expired, or unwanted prescription drugs for safe disposal at the event.
“Ohio is facing a prescription drug abuse epidemic,” Brown said. “Too many people can get prescription drugs from the family medicine cabinet or from friends who no longer use the medicine they were prescribed. The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day provides a safe way to dispose of unwanted medication and empowers Ohioans to end prescription drug abuse in their communities and save lives.”
Brown has been a leader in working to combat prescription drug abuse in Ohio and across America. Last year, he joined a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing legislation to reauthorize the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Drug Reporting (NASPER) Act, a prescription drug monitoring program critical to combating the abuse of prescription drugs. Brown has also joined his colleagues in introducing legislation that would prevent teenagers from gaining access to discarded prescription drugs by permitting individuals and long-term care facilities to deliver unused drugs for safe disposal and by expanding drug “take-back” programs.
Following a verbal agreement to work together to combat prescription drug abuse in Ohio, Brown sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to establish two Ohio-based tactical diversion squads to help the state crack down on ‘pill mills’ and prescription drug-related crimes. According to the Justice Department, tactical diversion squads combine DEA resources with those of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in an innovative effort to investigate, disrupt and dismantle those suspected of violating drug laws.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 2 million young people between ages 12 and 17 abused prescription drugs in 2008. Each day, some 2,500 young adults use prescription drugs that have not been prescribed to them – embarking on a journey toward addiction.
Both the Strickland and Kasich Administrations in Ohio have advocated for thorough and comprehensive approaches to combating prescription drug abuse. Governor Strickland established a task force that produced strong recommendations for combating this issue, and Attorney General Mike DeWine has announced several initiatives aimed at cracking down on the “pill mills” that offer easy – and illegal – access to prescription pain medications.
Earlier this year, Brown wrote to the Kasich Administration about establishing a Medicaid “lock-in” program, which would enable the Office of Ohio Health Plans to better monitor and control access to prescription drugs that are subject to abuse and trafficking. Brown also wrote to the Drug Enforcement Administration, requesting additional federal efforts in cracking down on “pill mills” across Ohio. His office also convened a first-of-its-kind roundtable in March 2010 that brought together federal officials from the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, state officials from the Attorney General's office, Department of Health, and Department of Jobs and Family Services, and community leaders to discuss the issue of drug abuse in Southern Ohio.