U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and co-chair of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control today released the following statement regarding the success of the 15th Annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

“Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. It’s devastating the lives of individuals, families and entire communities. That’s why prevention efforts like National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day are so important,” Grassley said. “The success of this program shows America’s dedication to fighting this crisis and I’m confident the next Take-Back Day will show even greater results.”

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, an effort to provide a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of unused and expired prescription drugs, was held on April 28.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), it was the most successful event in its history. The DEA reported that nearly 6,000 pharmacies and other approved sites throughout the country collected and destroyed close to one million pounds of expired and unused prescription drugs, bringing the total amount of prescription drugs collected by DEA since the fall of 2010 to nearly 10,000,000 pounds!

According to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.4 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs in 2015. The Iowa Department of Health reports that more than 200 hundred Iowans died from opioid misuse in 2017, a 300 percent increase since 2005.

In 2017, Grassley and Sen. Joni Ernst requested that the U.S. Government Accountability Office conduct a study into drug take-back programs. The results found that many pharmacies and other eligible entities do not participate because of high costs and burdensome federal compliance regulations.

In response, Grassley and Ernst, along with Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, introduced the bipartisan Access to Increased Drug Disposal (AIDD) Actwhich would create a small-scale demonstration program in five states. Those states would be allowed to apply for grand funding from the Department of Justice, then would issue a detailed report on how the money was administered, who received it and how it impacted participation rates in drug take-back programs.