Spokane – Joseph H. Harrington, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Saturday, April 24, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. is National Prescription Drug “Take Back Day.” This year marks the 20th biannual event in the ten-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 this Saturday 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. To keep everyone safe, collection sites will follow local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations.
At its last Take Back Day in October 2020, DEA collected nationally a record-high amount of expired, unwanted, and unused prescription medications, with the public turning in close to 500 tons of unwanted drugs. Over the 10-year span of Take Back Day, DEA has brought in more than 6,800 tons 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 13,842 pounds of prescription drugs at approximately 56 collections sites operated by the DEA and 61 of its state and local law enforcement partners. In its previous events, Washington State alone has collected 270,260 pounds of prescription drugs. Overall, in its 19 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in 13,684,848 pounds (6,842.4 tons) of pills.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. has seen an increase in overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic. The increase in drug overdose deaths appeared to have begun prior to the COVID-19 health emergency but accelerated during the pandemic.
Acting 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. We now face a national epidemic reaching every corner of America. Opioid overdoses have skyrocketed since the late 1990’s, becoming the worst drug epidemic in modern American history. The United States is seeing an increase in overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prescription drug misuse and overdose deaths do not discriminate – they can impact anyone of any age, race, gender or demographic.”
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