DEA brings in record amount of unused prescription drugs on National Prescription Take Back Day

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The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and more than 4,200 of its law enforcement and community partners collected more unused prescription drugs than at any of the 12 previous National Prescription Drug Take Back Day events. On Saturday, April 29, the event brought in 900,386 pounds (450 tons) at close to 5,500 sites across the nation. Marking the 13th National Prescription Take Back Day since September 2010, these events have altogether collected 8,103,363 pounds (4,052 tons) of prescription drugs. The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Initiative addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.4 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. The DEA’s Take Back Day events provide an opportunity for Americans to prevent drug addiction...
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Fentanyl Resistant to Naloxone Causing Overdoses in Western Pennsylvania

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The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is reporting a strain of fentanyl, resistant to the opioid overdose antidote naloxone, has caused several overdose deaths in Western Pennsylvania. The strain of fentanyl resistant to naloxone is called acryl fentanyl, KDKA reports. “If acryl fentanyl is introduced into the population, it can have devastating effects,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge, David Battiste. The DEA said acryl fentanyl is being manufactured overseas, smuggled into the United States, and sold mainly on the dark web. It comes in powder form, and looks similar to fentanyl. “These are dangerous drugs. They’re cut by these dealers who don’t care about anything other than making a profit. It can be cut with anything,” Battiste said.
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DEA Receives More Than 22,000 Comments on Proposal to Ban Kratom

DEA Receives More Than 22,000 Comments on Proposal to Ban Kratom
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has received more than 22,000 comments about its plan to temporarily ban the drug kratom, according to The Washington Post. The agency in October said it would reverse its decision to temporarily make kratom a Schedule I drug in the wake of protests by advocates, scientists and kratom vendors. Schedule I drugs are considered to have a high potential for abuse and to have no currently accepted medical treatment use. The DEA said it would open an official comment period, which lasted until December 1, for people to share their experiences using kratom as a medical treatment. The comments were overwhelmingly opposed to banning kratom, the article notes. Advocates for the drug say it relieves severe pain and helps them overcome addictions to prescription painkillers. The DEA said there has been an increase in poison control center calls involving kratom, as well as 15 deaths...
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Vast Drug-Distribution Network Originating in China Feeds Fentanyl to U.S.

Vast Drug-Distribution Network Originating in China Feeds Fentanyl to U.S.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has found that a vast drug-distribution network that originates in China is feeding the deadly opioid fentanyl to the United States, Mexico and Canada. The network trades not only in finished fentanyl, but related products that are subject to little or no regulation in China or elsewhere, The Wall Street Journal reports. Some of these products are known as analogs, which are copies of fentanyl. Others include the chemical ingredients of fentanyl, as well as pill presses used to make the drug. Fentanyl is an opioid legally prescribed for cancer treatment. It can be made illicitly, and is 25 to 50 times more potent than heroin. Chemicals used to make fentanyl are unregulated in China, or by the United Nations agreements that police the global drug trade, the article notes. China prohibits the nonmedical sale of fentanyl and has added several fentanyl analogs to...
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DEA Will Announce Whether Marijuana Should be Reclassified in First Half of 2016

DEA Will Announce Whether Marijuana Should be Reclassified in First Half of 2016
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) said this week it will decide in the first half of 2016 whether marijuana should be reclassified under federal law. The agency gave no indication what its decision will be, according to The Huffington Post . There are five categories, or schedules, for drugs in the United States. Schedule I drugs are considered by the DEA to have the highest potential for abuse and no current accepted medical use. Marijuana is currently a Schedule I drug, along with heroin and LSD. If marijuana were rescheduled, it still would be illegal under federal law, but the change might ease restrictions on research, and reduce penalties for marijuana-related offenses, the article notes. The DEA was responding to a letter sent last July by eight Democratic senators, who urged the federal government to facilitate research on the benefits of medical marijuana. The senators said the research is needed...
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Law Enforcement Sees More High-Potency Marijuana, Called “Shatter”

Law Enforcement Sees More High-Potency Marijuana, Called “Shatter”
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents in Houston are seeing an increasing amount of a type of high-potency marijuana known as “shatter,” ABC7NY reports. Some forms of shatter have as much as 90 percent THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. That is about five times the potency of unrefined smoked marijuana. It is more powerful than standard hash oil. Shatter is a thin, hard layer that is similar to glass. It can shatter if dropped. The drug, also called wax or 710, is a concentrated form of marijuana oil. “If you’re looking at something that has three, five, seven, or nine percent THC content, that’s a drastic difference to somebody that is consuming something with 80 or 90 percent THC content,” said Wendell Campbell, DEA special agent. Houston DEA agents report an increase in marijuana concentrate seizures in the past year, the article notes. The concentrates are often hidden in beauty...
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One Billion Fewer Hydrocodone Combination Tablets Dispensed After Drug Rescheduled

One Billion Fewer Hydrocodone Combination Tablets Dispensed After Drug Rescheduled
One billion fewer hydrocodone combination tablets were dispensed and 26.3 million fewer prescriptions were written after the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) enacted tighter controls on prescribing these products, a new study finds. In 2014, the DEA announced it would reclassify hydrocodone combination products such as Vicodin. Under the new rules, patients can receive the drugs for only up to 90 days without receiving a new prescription. The DEA reclassified hydrocodone combination products as Schedule II drugs. Until October 2014, these drugs were classified as Schedule III drugs, meaning they could be refilled up to five times, and prescriptions could cover a 180-day period. In most cases, patients who wish to refill their hydrocodone combination prescription now have to give their pharmacy a prescription from a healthcare provider, instead of having it phoned or faxed in. In the new study, researchers from the Department of Health and Human Services analyzed data...
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