Nationwide Americans did their part to drop off a record number of unused, unwanted or expired prescription medications at close to 6,000 sites across the country on April 28th, 2018. Together with a record-setting amount of local, state and federal partners, DEA collected and destroyed close to one million pounds—nearly 475 tons—of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs, making it the most successful event in DEA history.
This brings the total amount of prescription drugs collected by DEA since the fall of 2010 to 9,964,714 pounds, or 4,982 tons.
Residents of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Alaska turned in 40,096 pounds (20 tons) of prescription medications on April 28, 2018. This is the highest collection to date for the Pacific Northwest. The following are the results broken down by state:
·Washington –76 collection sites which resulted in 17,018 pounds (8.5 tons) removed from circulation.
·Idaho – 37 collection sites which resulted in 4,282 (2.0 tons) removed from circulation.
·Oregon – 60 collection sites which resulted in 14,614 pounds (7.3 tons) removed from circulation. This is a record collection number for Oregon.
·Alaska – 17 collection sites which resulted in 4,182 pounds (2.1 tons) removed from circulation. This is a record collection for Alaska.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis said, “The take-back events continue to be highly successful and continue to rally the citizens of the Pacific Northwest into the fight against opioid abuse.”
Now in its 8th year, National Prescription Drug Take Back Day events continue to remove ever-higher amounts of opioids and other medicines from the nation’s homes, where they could be stolen and abused by family members and visitors, including children and teens.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
DEA launched its prescription drug take back program when both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration advised the public that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—posed potential safety and health hazards.
Helping people to dispose of potentially harmful prescription drugs is just one way DEA is working to reduce the addiction and overdose deaths plaguing this country due to opioid medications.