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Press Release

Drug “Take Back Day” to Take Place Saturday, October 29 in the Eastern District of Washington

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Washington

Spokane – United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington Vanessa Waldref announced that Saturday, October 29, 2022, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. is DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. This marks the 23rd bi-annual event in the eleven-year history of the Drug Take Back initiative. Drug Take Back Day gives the public the opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington will be partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Spokane Police Department, and other community partners at Northtown Mall, 4750 North Division, located in the northwest corner of Division Street and Queen Avenue in Spokane.

At its last Take Back Day in April 2022, the DEA collected more than 720,000 pounds of expired, unwanted, and unused prescription medications. Over the 11-year span, DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day has brought in more than 15.9 million pounds of prescription drugs. With studies indicating a majority of abused prescription drugs come from family and friends, including from home medicine cabinets, clearing out unused medicine is essential. Of those numbers, Washington State collected prescription drugs at approximately 117 collections sites operated by the DEA and its state and local law enforcement partners.

“I am committed to reducing tragic drug overdose deaths. By participating in events like Prescription Drug Take Back Day, federal, state, local, and tribal community leaders can help remove expired narcotics from our communities, prevent medication misuse, and make Eastern Washington safer and stronger,” U.S. Attorney Waldref stated. “Drug take back events are one way our community can positively impact the opioid crisis and protect loved ones. Prescription drug misuse and overdose deaths do not discriminate – they can impact individuals of any age, race, gender or demographic.”

“The DEA is committed to making our communities safer and healthier by driving down overdose deaths and poisonings through targeted enforcement and community-based initiatives like DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day,” said Jacob D. Galvan, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Seattle Field Division. “For over a decade, National Take Back Day has encouraged the public to remove unneeded medications from their homes as a first step in preventing medication misuse and opioid addiction from ever starting. This year there are 76 collection sites in Washington, 26 of them are in Eastern Washington.”

“Everyday our community sees the fallout from drug addiction. Many Spokanites have lost loved ones to overdose deaths, and these numbers are only increasing,” Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl stated. “In 2021, the Spokane County Medical Examiner reported an astonishing 285% increase in overdose deaths compared to 2020 in our county. Drug Take Back Day is one of many approaches we are taking to limit exposure of our loved ones and friends to drugs that may be easily accessible or are no longer needed.”

In addition to DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, there are many other ways to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs every day. The FDA provides information on how to properly dispose of prescription drugs. To find out where year-round disposal sites are located, go to https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/where-and-how-dispose-unused-medicines.

For more information about Annual Prescription Drug Take Back Day, go to www.DEATakeBack.com

Contact

Richard Barker 
Assistant United States Attorney and Public Affairs Officer
509-835-6311 or richard.barker@usdoj.gov

Updated October 26, 2022

Topics
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Community Outreach