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DEA aims for record removal of unused pills through its National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Initiative

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WASHINGTON – After collecting more than 9 million pounds (4,500 tons) of expired, unused and unwanted prescription medications at 14 previous events over the past 7 years, the Drug Enforcement Administration and its national, tribal, and community partners will hold the 15th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day across the country on Saturday, April 28th. The service is free and anonymous.

This weekend more than 5,600 collection sites manned by almost 4,500 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.)

“Take Back Day helps to keep drugs out of the hands of abusers and potentially save lives by removing unused painkillers and controlled drugs from homes,” said DEA Acting Administrator Robert W. Patterson. “The more unused painkillers or controlled drugs we can help to remove from homes, the more potential lives will be saved. The home medicine cabinet is a frequent target of prescription drug abusers and often provides access to prescription medication. We need the help of the public to dispose of this unwanted source of abuse. Take Back Day is an effective tool for addressing the opioid crisis in America.”

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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.  DEA launched its prescription drug take back program when both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration advised the public that flushing these drugs down the toilet or throwing them in the trash posed potential safety and health hazards.

The public has embraced the opportunity these Take Back Day events provide to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous prescription drugs. Last fall the public turned in 456 tons (912,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,300 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,200 of its local and tribal partners.

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