Photo: Getty Images
DEA is holding its 19th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 24 with 145 collection sites throughout the Pacific Northwest. The nationwide event aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.
Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States 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.
Collection sites will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations in order to maintain the safety of all participants and local law enforcement. There are 16 collection sites in Alaska, 40 in Idaho, 33 in Oregon and 56 in Washington State.
“The initiative – now in its tenth year – addresses a vital public safety and public health issue,” said DEA Acting Administrator Timothy Shea. “Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Together with our partners, we are not only holding National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, but offering other ways to dispose of unwanted, unused, and expired prescription medications.”
"Stop, drop and roll, no questions asked,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis. He further stated that, “With more people staying at home, we must remain vigilant, keeping our loved ones safe by cleaning out our medicine cabinets.”
If you can’t find a Take Back Day drop-off site near you, there are other ways to keep your medications safe until the next Take Back Day, dispose of them, or drop them at a year-round collection location. Given the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, DEA wants to ensure that the public is aware of other ways they can dispose of unwanted prescription drugs without having to leave their homes. Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have tips on how to safely dispose of drugs at home.