PHOENIX -- More than 12,000 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter medications were collected at the Drug Enforcement Administration's eighth Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in Arizona, Special Agent in Charge Douglas W. Coleman announced Thursday.
The DEA held the campaign nationwide on April 26 to provide people with a safe, environmentally sound way to dispose of unwanted and expired medications, as well as to educate the public about drug trafficking and abuse.
"The Take-Back campaign was another huge success that cleaned out more than six tons of pills from Arizona's medicine cabinets, a crucial step toward reducing the epidemic of prescription drug abuse that is plaguing this nation," Coleman said in a statement.
The DEA Phoenix Field Division said the eight Take-Back Day events have removed more than 70,800 pounds, or 35 tons, of medication from circulation.
The DEA launched its first Take-Back Day in September 2010.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health released in 2013 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 6.8 million Americans reported abusing prescription drugs in 2012.
The study also showed that more than 54 percent of people who abused prescription pain relievers obtained them through friends or relatives, sometimes by raiding the family medicine cabinet.
"Thanks to our state, local and tribal law enforcement partners -- and the public -- we not only removed these dangerous drugs from our homes, but also educated countless citizens about the dangers of drug abuse," Coleman said.