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DEA prepares for Prescription Drug Takeback Day

This news story was published on April 25, 2019.
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CEDAR RAPIDS – U.S. Attorney Peter E. Deegan, Jr. joins the Drug Enforcement Administration in announcing that on April 27th, DEA will hold its 17th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The biannual event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at thousands of collection sites around the country, including over 50 here in the Northern District of Iowa. The event is an effort to rid homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.

“The DEA’s National Takeback Initiative has been very successful and offers an anonymous and free opportunity to get rid of dangerous and unwanted prescription pills,” U.S. Attorney Deegan stated. “Prescription drug abuse can and does lead to heroin and other opioid abuse. Heroin and opioids are extremely dangerous drugs and have caused overdose deaths here in our own communities. Takeback Day is a day our community can come together to fight the opioid and heroin epidemic by ensuring that unneeded prescription drugs are destroyed.”

Last October Americans turned in 457 tons (900,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at almost 6,000 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,800 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 16 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 11 million pounds—more than 5,400 tons—of pills. The disposal service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. The DEA cannot accept liquids, needles, or sharps, only pills or patches.

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. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 91 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose. Some painkiller abusers move on to heroin: Four out of five new heroin users started with painkillers.

Flushing medications down the toilet or throwing them in the trash pose potential safety and health hazards. This initiative addresses the public safety and public health issues that surround medications languishing in home cabinets, becoming highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.

For more information or to locate a collection site near you, go the DEA web site at where you can search by zip code, city, or state.

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