September 24, 2014

Manchin Urges West Virginians to Participate in National Drug Take-Back Day

Ninth National Drug Take-Back Day is an opportunity to help reduce the risk of prescription drug abuse and increase awareness of this critical public health epidemic

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today urged West Virginians to participate in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) ninth National Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, September 27, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Drug Take-Back Day is an opportunity for the public to prevent prescription drug abuse and theft by disposing of expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. Participants must simply deliver the prescription medications to one of the more than 130 certified drop-off locations around the state, where local law enforcement officials will then anonymously collect the medications with no questions asked. 

“Prescription drug abuse continues to proliferate in our state and across our nation, and it is important that we all work together with local, state, and federal leaders as well as law enforcement to help overcome this epidemic. Drug Take-Back Day is a simple and common sense initiative we can all rally around to combat drug abuse. It is an outstanding opportunity for neighbors and families to protect themselves from the harmful effects of prescription drugs and the possibility of drug-related break-ins, while also raising awareness about the dangers of drug abuse. I am encouraged by the efforts of the DEA, state law enforcement, and the many community contributors who make Drug Take-Back Day successful year after year, and I hope all West Virginians will participate this Saturday.”

During last April’s Drug Take-Back Day, Americans turned in more than 780,000 pounds of prescription drugs at nearly 6,100 sites.  When those results are combined with what was collected in its previous Take-Back events over the past four years, DEA and its partners have taken in over 4.1 million pounds—more than 2,100 tons—of pills. 

On September 8th, DEA finalized rules for the safe and secure disposal of prescription drugs, as required under the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010. According to the DEA, the regulations outline processes to transfer unused or unwanted pharmaceutical controlled substances to authorized collectors for the purpose of disposal. The new rules also permit long-term-care facilities to do the same on behalf of residents or former residents of their facilities. The new rules will take effect on October 9.

To find a certified drop-off location in your area, please click here.


Senator Manchin has fought for many legislative initiatives to reduce the prevalence of drug abuse in West Virginia and across the nation, including:

National Drug Take Back Days: Senator Manchin has encouraged West Virginians to participate in the DEA’s Drug Take-Back Day events, in which local law enforcement officials anonymously collect expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications at locations around the state with no questions asked. The DEA has hosted eight events since September 2010 and have scheduled a ninth event at the end of this month.

Hydrocodone Rescheduling: On August 21, 2014, after fighting to reschedule hydrocodone-combination drugs from a Schedule III to a Schedule II controlled substance for more than two years through proposed legislation and correspondence and meetings with FDA, HHS, and DEA officials, Senator Manchin applauded the DEA’s announcement that these highly addictive painkillers were officially reclassified.

Banning Zohydro: Senator Manchin sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to overturn the Federal Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the powerful and highly addictive opioid drug, Zohydro Extended Release (ER). Senator Manchin expressed his concerns with the FDA’s approval process given that the FDA’s own expert advisory panel voted against the approval of the painkiller by a vote of 11-2 and health experts repeatedly warned of the its potential to increase prescription drug abuse. In March, Senator Manchin introduced legislation to ban the dangerous painkiller from the market.

Servicemembers and Veterans Prescription Drug Safety Act of 2013: Senator Manchin sponsored legislation that would provide for a prescription drug take back program for veterans and members of the Armed Forces. Drug take programs allow for the safe and effective collection and disposal of unwanted and unnecessary prescription drugs and would help to combat the challenge posed by prescription drug misuse and abuse in our military and veteran populations.

Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act: Senator Manchin cosponsored Senator Rockefeller’s legislation that requires health care professionals to attend new safe pain management training courses, promotes consumer and patient education about safe disposal and treatment of prescription drugs, and supports state Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs.

Expanding High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA): The Office of National Drug Control Policy’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program provides funds to local law enforcement agencies located in counties in drug-trafficking regions. There are 11 counties in West Virginia currently designated as HIDTAs, and Senator Manchin is working with regional authorities to get more areas accepted into the program.

Funding for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Senator Manchin has supported funding for COPS programs to provide local police departments with federal grant money. The program helps to advance community policing in many areas where funding is needed to help combat drug abuse.

Funding for Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (Byrne JAG): Senator Manchin supports funding for the Byrne JAG program, which provides state and local governments with critical resources necessary to support various law enforcement efforts and drug treatment initiatives.

Support for Drug Free Communities: Senator Manchin has supported funding for Drug Free Communities, which provides grants to community-based coalitions that organize to prevent substance abuse in youth.

Support for National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month: Senator Manchin is a cosponsor of S.Res.261, which designated October 2011 as National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. The resolution passed the Senate on September 23, 2011.