This Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its local law enforcement, community and tribal partners in the Pacific Northwest will collect expired, unused, and unwanted prescription medications at one of 230 collection sites. There are 19 collection sites in Alaska, 45 in Idaho, 61 in Oregon, and 105 in Washington State. The service is free of charge, no questions asked.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis of the Pacific Northwest Region emphasized, “All of our Northwest communities need to take this opportunity of disposing unused prescription medications in a safe and simple process. This consciousness effort may be lifesaving.”
Last October, residents of Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska turned in 35,017 pounds (17 tons) of prescription medications. The following are the results broken down by state:
- Washington – 98 collection sites which resulted in 15,279 pounds (7.6 tons) removed from circulation.
- Idaho – 34 collection sites which resulted in 3,269 pounds (1.6 tons) removed from circulation.
- Oregon – 60 collection sites which resulted in 12,492 pounds (6.2 tons) removed from circulation.
- Alaska – 19 collection sites which resulted in 3,977 pounds (2 tons) removed from circulation.
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.
Now in its ninth year, DEA has collected a total of nearly 11 million pounds (more than 5,400 tons) of expired, unused and unwanted prescription medications through its Take Back Day events. This weekend, approximately 6,000 collection sites manned by nearly 5,000 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.)