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Justice News

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

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

U.S. Attorney, DEA and Alexandria Sheriff Support DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – United States Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger will be joined by DEA Chief of Diversion Control John Martin and Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne at The Neighborhood Pharmacy in Del Ray on Saturday at 11 a.m. for the DEA’s 17th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

“Safely disposing of prescription drugs keeps dangerous narcotics out of the wrong hands and out of our communities,” said Terwilliger. “One source of drug abusers’ narcotics are from friends and family, often from the home medicine cabinet. The good people of Alexandria can help us fight the opioid epidemic by ridding their homes of unwanted and unneeded prescription meds and bringing them to a local collection site like the one here in Del Ray.”

The semiannual event will be held at thousands of collection sites around the country, including here in the Alexandria community of Del Ray at The Neighborhood Pharmacy, 2204 Mount Vernon Avenue. The event is an effort to rid homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.

“Saturday’s event will see more law enforcement partners and registered take back sites than any previous DEA event,” said DEA Chief of Diversion Control John Martin. “Our partnerships with federal, state, local and tribal leaders are vital to the success of this important program and we remain committed to providing communities across the United States with safe and convenient drug disposal options.”

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.)

“We greatly appreciate our dedicated partners who join us in fighting the opioid problem with initiatives like Drug Take Back,” said Lawhorne. “Thanks to business partners like The Neighborhood Pharmacy, law enforcement leaders like U.S. Attorney Terwilliger, and our caring community, we can work together to make Alexandria safer.”

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.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Prescription Drugs
Contact: Joshua Stueve Director of Communications
Updated April 24, 2019