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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 26, 2019

Prescription Drug “Take Back Day” in the Eastern District of Washington

Spokane – Joseph H. Harrington, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Saturday, April 27, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., is National Prescription Drug “Take Back Day.” This event will give the public its 17th opportunity in nine years 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 this Saturday with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Spokane Police Department, and other community partners at C.O.P.S. North Central/Knox Presbyterian Church, 806 W. Knox Avenue, Spokane.

U.S. Attorney Harrington said, “Participating in drug take-back events is one step that individuals can do to help positively impact the opioid crisis and protect their loved ones. Opioid overdoses have skyrocketed since the late 1990’s, becoming the worst drug epidemic in modern American history. Over 42,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses in recent years – more than deaths from automobile accidents or firearm-related homicides.”

Last fall, Americans turned in nearly 460 tons (more than 900,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and almost 4,800 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Of those numbers, Washington State collected 15,604 pounds of prescription drugs at approximately 96 collections sites operated by the DEA and 85 of its state and local law enforcement partners. In its 16 previous “take back” events, Washington State along has collected 224,037 pounds of prescription drugs. Overall, in its 16 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in almost 11 million pounds – nearly 5,500 tons – of pills.

The disposal service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. Liquids, needles, or sharps cannot be accepted at the sites, only pills or patches.

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 U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows year after year that the majority of misused and abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including someone else’s medication being stolen from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—pose potential safety and health hazards.

In the City of Spokane, year-round disposal sites are located at Spokane Police Department’s North Precinct, 5124 N. Market, Monday through Friday, 9:00 – 4:00; the Public Safety Building, 1100 W. Mallon Avenue, Monday through Friday 8:00 – 5:00; and Spokane Police Department’s Downtown Precinct in the Intermodal, 221 W. First, 24 hr/7 days a week. In Spokane County a year-round disposal site is located in the Spokane Valley Police Department lobby, 12710 E. Sprague Avenue, Monday through Friday, 8:00 – 5:00.

For more information about additional collection sites in Eastern Washington and the disposal of prescription drugs for the April 27, 2019, Take Back Day event, go to www.DEATakeBack.com

Topic(s): 
Opioids
Prescription Drugs
Updated April 29, 2019