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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of North Carolina

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

DEA Prepares for Prescription Drug Takeback Day

RALEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. will join the DEA on April 27th for 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 here in the (Eastern District of North Carolina. The event is an effort to rid homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.

“Across the county and here in the Eastern District of North Carolina, we are facing a real and dangerous threat from opioids and other prescription drugs,” said United States Attorney Higdon.  “We have unprecedented levels of addiction, frightening numbers of overdoses and an alarming number of deaths because of the over prescription and improper use of these drugs.  And this requires each of us to work to solve it.  By properly disposing of prescription medication we do not need, we can reduce the risk that these drugs will fall into the wrong hands.  Please help us resolve this problem by participating in the national Prescription Drug Take Back Day.”

Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division said, “Addressing the problem of the abuse of controlled pharmaceuticals continues to be one of DEA’s top priorities.  One way to address this issue is to encourage the public to properly remove their unwanted, unused and dated prescription medications from their homes. DEA and its law enforcement and community partners are holding its seventeenth take-back event in order to child proof and teen proof homes so that these medications cannot be abused.  I invite you to do your part in the midst of this opioid crisis as we strive to make our communities safer.”

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 where you can search by zip code, city, or state.

Prescription Drugs
Updated April 23, 2019