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U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York is calling on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to establish a buy-back program for unused prescription drugs. A buy-back program would encourage people to return their unused prescriptions, he said.

Schumer wrote a letter to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart recommending ways the agency could work with pharmacies and law enforcement agencies to expand programs to collect unused drugs, The Post-Standard reports. Under current DEA regulations, pharmacies cannot hold take-back events. Schumer noted that take-back events are infrequent and can be inconvenient.

Schumer is recommending the agency amend regulations under the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 so that pharmacies and community organizations can hold take-back programs.

“The DEA needs to be working with local pharmacies, governments and law enforcement agencies to get prescription drugs off the street, and take-back and buyback programs are the way to do that.  The DEA must change the regulations so that certified pharmacies can hold take-back events and provide this vital service, and should put more funding behind buybacks to incentivize people to turn over their prescription drugs,” he said in a news release.

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