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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 23, 2021

DEA Prepares For Prescription Drug Take Back Day

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. On Saturday, April 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will provide the public the opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Location information is available from the DEA. These sites cannot accept liquids, needles, or sharps, only pills or patches, and this service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

This April’s event is DEA’s 20th nationwide event since its inception 11 years ago. Last fall, Americans turned in nearly 883,000 pounds of prescription drugs at nearly 6,200 sites operated by the DEA and almost 5,000 from its state and local law enforcement partners. DEA and its partners have collected nearly 6,350 tons of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription medications since the inception of the National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative in 2010.

To keep everyone safe, collection sites will follow CDC COVID-19 guidelines and regulations.

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 United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses because of these drugs. In the United States, 85,500 people died of a drug overdose in just one year (August 2019-August 2020). This is the largest number of drug overdoses on record in the United States within a one-year period and a 27 percent increase in deaths year over year. Synthetic opioids, such as illicit fentanyl, are the primary drier of the increase in overdose deaths.

In addition to DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, there are many other ways to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs every day, including the 11,000 authorized collectors that are available all year long. For more information, visit DEA’s year-round collection site locator. Participating in the next DEA Take Back Day on Saturday, April 24, simply means cleaning out your medicine cabinet or anywhere you keep unused, unwanted, or expired medications and dropping them off at your nearest collection site. You can learn more about the event and find a collection site at: takebackday@dea.gov, or call 800-882-9539.

The FDA also provides information on how to properly dispose of prescription drugs. More information is available here: https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/where-and-how-dispose-unused-medicines.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the April 24 Take Back day event, go to DEA Drug Take Back event.

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Topic(s): 
Community Outreach
Contact: 
Rachelle Barnes Public Affairs Officer (865) 545-4167
Updated April 23, 2021