DEA Prepares for Prescription Drug Take Back Day
St. Louis - The United States Attorney’s Office is proud to support the DEA on Saturday, April 27, 2019, for its 17th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The bi-annual event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at thousands of collection sites around the country. Over 90 locations will be open and participating within the Eastern District of Missouri. The event is an effort to rid homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.
In support of the effort, U.S. Attorney Jensen noted:
“The death toll from prescription painkillers has tripled in the past decade. We know all too well that the problem is getting worse. Over 16,000 people die every year from prescription painkiller overdoses—that’s more than the number of overdoses from heroin, cocaine or any other illegal drug. Adolescents and young adults are especially vulnerable. Many teens that begin abusing prescription drugs turn to heroin for a cheaper high. Saturday’s prescription drug take back is an invaluable opportunity for everyone in our community to prevent prescription drugs from getting into the wrong hands, including the hands of kids. We hope everyone takes advantage of it, with no questions asked, and we thank DEA for spearheading this effort.”
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 Prescription Drug Take Back Day web site at https://takebackday.dea.gov/#collection-locator where you can search by zip code, city or state.