The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is dragging its feet in implementing a common-sense solution to the problem of excess prescription drugs that may be subject to abuse, Sen. Charles E. Schumer said during an appearance at an Amherst pharmacy Thursday.
At a news conference at Family Medical Pharmacy on Plaza Drive, Schumer, D-N.Y., said the agency should allow pharmacies to collect and destroy leftover prescription drugs – rather than letting them linger in medicine cabinets where youngsters can get them and abuse them.
“The DEA is sitting on its hands as thousands of our kids get addicted,” Schumer said.
The drug agency currently holds periodic drug take-back events, such as those scheduled between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst, and Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Town of Tonawanda. In addition, police agencies will collect excess painkillers and other drugs that could fall into the wrong hands. But Schumer said it would be much easier for many people if they could simply take their extra drugs to their pharmacy to be destroyed.
Many pharmacies would be happy to participate in such programs, said Dennis C. Galluzzo, president of Family Medical Pharmacy and executive director of the Pharmacists Association of Western New York.
“There are huge amounts of drugs on family shelves that don’t need to be there,” Galluzzo said. The DEA has agreed to start a drug giveback program for pharmacies but has delayed implementing the program, Schumer said. In addition, the senator said the agency should implement an effort in which it would buy back excess prescription drugs, using funds the DEA collects through its drug forfeiture program.