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Tons of drugs are turned in April 28

Residents in four Western states turn over 14-plus tons

Americans again responded overwhelmingly to the most recent Department of Environmental Administration-led National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 28.

They turned in a record-breaking 552,161 pounds (276 tons) of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at the 5,659 take-back sites that were available in all 50 states and U.S. territories. When the results of the four Take-Back Days to date are combined, the DEA and its state, local and tribal law-enforcement and community partners have removed more than 1.5 million pounds (774 tons) of medication from circulation.

In a four-hour time period, residents of Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska turned in 28,482 pounds (more than 14 tons), which were record numbers for each state. Oregon offered 60 collection sites that resulted in 8,117 pounds (4.1 tons) removed from circulation.

Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high: More Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin combined, according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends.