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DEA drug takeback a success

Teens at risk from unused prescription drugs, agency officials say.

November 11, 2011|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

More than 500 pounds of pills were collected throughout Glendale as part of the recent national prescription drug takeback, officials said this week.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s third takeback event, which was held Oct. 29, collected more than eight tons, or 16,560 pounds, of prescription pills at numerous collection sites in the Los Angeles area, according to the agency.

Of that, 541 pounds were collected at six sites in Glendale. About half, 250 pounds —the largest amount collected — came from a collection site in La Crescenta, said Special Agent Sarah Pullen, spokeswoman for the agency. The agency boxed up the collected pills and incinerated them a week after the event, she added.

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“I believe this is one more step to educate our community of the hazards of prescription drug abuse,” said Matt Zakarian, president of the Crescenta Valley Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition. I hope people understand how this affects our youth's perception of harm.”

Pullen attributed the great amount of pills collected at the Glendale sites to the Glendale Police and Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s departments’ partnership with the coalition, which focuses on addressing drug and alcohol issues affecting local teens.

Most teenagers addicted to prescription pills get their supplies from raiding their friends’ and family members’ medicine cabinets, according to the agency.

Prescription drug use has grown rapidly in the U.S. in the past decade, mostly due to a large supply that is readily available, according to report released this month from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most pill users don’t have prescriptions and take the drugs to get high, according to the CDC.

Overdose deaths from prescription pills have increased, surpassing the number of deaths from heroin and cocaine combined, according to the CDC.

About 15,000 deaths annually are attributed to prescription pill overdoses.

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