DEA aims to dispose of 10 million pounds of unused pills
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After collecting a total of more than 9.9 million pounds (nearly 5,000 tons) of expired, unused and unwanted prescription medications during 15 previous events over the past eight years, the Drug Enforcement Administration expects to reach a total of 10 million pounds collected following the upcoming fall 2018 Take back event.
DEA and its national, tribal and community partners will hold the 16th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day across the country on Saturday, Oct. 27. The service is free and anonymous.
This weekend, nearly 5,400 collection sites manned by more than 4,400 partner law enforcement agencies will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. The public can find a nearby collection site at www.DEATakeBack.com or by calling 800-882-9539. (DEA cannot accept liquids, needles or sharps.)
“We know that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet,” said Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon. “If we reduce the availability of those unused or expired medications through proper disposal, the fewer drugs there are to be misused, and fewer people will be at risk for abuse, addiction, overdose, and even death.”
The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Initiative addresses a critical public safety and public health issue. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States continue to be alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Because the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration have advised the public that flushing their prescription drugs down the toilet or throwing them in the trash pose potential safety and health hazards, DEA launched its prescription drug take back program to encourage the safe disposal of medications.
National Take Back Day has received robust public support since its inception in 2010. Last April, the public turned in 456 tons (912,305 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,700 of its local and tribal partners.