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Press Release

October 26 Is Prescription Drug Take Back Day

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana
U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser Encourages Citizens to Dispose of Expired and Unwanted Opioids

United States Attorney Peter G. Strasser wants to encourage the public to participate in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) 17th National Prescription Drug Takeback Day on Saturday, October 26, 2019. The event is an effort to rid homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs and will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at thousands of collection sites around the country, including several here in the Eastern District of Louisiana. 

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.  The majority of prescription drug abusers say they get their drugs free from friends and family, including from the home medicine cabinet.  Take Back Day is a unique opportunity for Americans to protect their homes and medicine cabinets from theft and abuse.

For the first time, DEA will now accept vaping devices and cartridges at any of its drop off locations during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. It is important to note that DEA cannot accept devices containing lithium ion batteries. If batteries cannot be removed prior to drop-off, DEA encourages individuals to consult with stores that recycle lithium ion batteries.

 “DEA’s National Drug Take Back Initiative is one of the most important tools in combating the prescription drug abuse epidemic, stated U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser.  “Not only does this program prevent unwanted or expired prescription drugs from flooding our communities and landing in the wrong hands, it protects our environment by offering a safe alternative disposal method.”

“Prescription drugs often end up in the wrong hands, feeding an epidemic that kills more Americans than car accidents. DEA’s Take Back Initiative provides citizens an easy and safe way to dispose of unused and unwanted prescription medications. This year, we are taking it a step further by accepting vaping devices and cartridges as we work with our federal partners to combat this emerging public health threat to the nation’s youth,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brad L. Byerley.

Over the past 10 years, 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 will be manned by nearly 5,000 partner law enforcement agencies.  The service is free and anonymous. 

In the New Orleans Field Division, the following amounts were collected last April:  Louisiana – 7,046 pounds; Mississippi – 3,753 pounds; Alabama – 6,800 pounds; and Arkansas – 28,073 pounds. 

For more information or to locate updated collection sites near you, please go the DEA Prescription Drug Take Back Day web site at  where you can search by zip code, city, or state.

DEA Take Back Day PSA:

Updated October 22, 2019

Community Outreach
Prescription Drugs