With enthusiastic participation nationwide, DEA and its law enforcement partners have now collected nearly 12 million pounds of unused or expired prescription medications over the course of 17 successful DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back events. During the 17th semi-annual event on April 27, the Take Back initiative saw new records for the numbers of law enforcement partners, collection sites. Together with these local, state, tribal and federal partners – more than 5,000 total – at nearly 6,400 collection sites, DEA collected and destroyed close to 469 tons of potentially dangerous unwanted drugs.
This brings the total amount of drugs collected by DEA since the fall of 2010 to 11,816,393 pounds, or 5,908 tons.
Residents of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Alaska turned in 37,926 pounds (19 tons) of prescription medications on April, 27, 2019. This is the second collection to date for the Pacific Northwest and record collections for Idaho and Alaska. The following are the results broken down by state:
- Washington –112 collection sites which resulted in 16,757 pounds (8.4 tons) removed from circulation.
- Idaho – 47 collection sites which resulted in 5,674 (2.9 tons) removed from circulation.
- Oregon – 61 collection sites which resulted in 10,828 pounds (5.4 tons) removed from circulation.
- Alaska – 19 collection sites which resulted in 4,567 pounds (2.3 tons) removed from circulation.
“The ever-increasing public support and continuously growing numbers of partners and collection sites are a true testament to the value of DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back program,” said Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon. “Just as DEA and our law enforcement partners are committed to ending the opioid epidemic, our communities recognize that this is a pervasive and heartbreaking crisis. DEA Take Back Day gives every American a way to help by simply cleaning out their medicine cabinets.”
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day events have been extremely successful not only in getting unused drugs out of the house, but also in raising awareness of their link to addiction and overdose deaths. The public has embraced the opportunity these events provide to remove medicines languishing in the home that are highly susceptible to misuse, abuse and theft. Public demand for safe and secure drug disposal has also resulted in a significant increase in year-round drug drop boxes at law enforcement facilities, pharmacies, and elsewhere, making drug disposal even more convenient.