WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that there are 191 sites available throughout Ohio to receive unwanted prescription drugs for safe disposal on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 30, 2011. The annual event, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), is aimed at reducing the amount of expired or unused prescription drugs for illegal use.

“Improper disposal of prescription drugs can devastate communities. Too many teenagers can get prescription drugs from the family medicine cabinet or from family and friends who no longer use the medicine they were prescribed,” Brown said. “That’s why National Take-Back Day is important. Prescription pain medications, such as Oxycodone, morphine, and methadone – which are largely responsible for increasing numbers of overdoses and deaths in Ohio – should be disposed of safely.”

A University of Akron Institute for Health and Social Policy study of prescription drug abuse among adolescent arrestees in Ohio suggests a correlation between prescription drug misuse and juvenile detention. 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.

According to the DOJ and 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.

Ohio is second only to Florida in the number of Oxycodone prescriptions filled and Ohio’s death rate due to unintentional drug poisoning increased more than 350 percent from 1999 to 2008. In 2007, unintentional drug poisoning surpassed motor vehicle crashes and suicide as the leading cause of injury death in Ohio for the first time on record. 

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. 

Brown is working to combat the growing problem of prescription drug abuse and Medicaid fraud in Ohio on all fronts. 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.

Last year, Brown 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. Sen. 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.

Brown’s office 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.

A list of participant sites and locations can be found here: http://brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/SB_NationalPrescriptionDrugTakeBackSites_042111.pdf