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Press Release

DEA Announces 20th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – United States Attorney Prim F. Escalona announces support of DEA’s 20th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day to be held on April 24, 2021.  Take Back Day is a bi-annual event that aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the public about the potential for abuse of medications. 

DEA’s October 2020 Take Back Day brought in a record-high amount of expired, 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.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. has seen an increase in overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 87,200 Americans dying as a result of a drug overdose in a one-year period (Sept. 1, 2019 to Sept. 1, 2020), the most ever recorded in a 12-month period. The increase in drug overdose deaths appeared to begin prior to the COVID-19 health emergency, accelerating significantly during the first months of the pandemic.

“Let’s do our part to protect our loved ones by disposing of those unused, unwanted or expired prescription drugs in our possession,” U.S. Attorney Escalona said. “It is the easiest and most effective thing we can do to combat the national opioid epidemic.”

“The rate of prescription drug abuse in the United States is alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs, said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brad Byerley. “Unfortunately, these prescription drugs are most often obtained from friends and family, who leave them in home medicine cabinets. Helping people dispose of potentially harmful prescription drugs is just one way DEA is working to reduce the addiction rates and overdose deaths plaguing this country. Please do your part to keep these drugs off the streets and help spread awareness in your community.”

The public can drop off potentially dangerous prescription medications at collection sites which will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations in order to maintain the safety of all participants and local law enforcement.

DEA and its partners will collect tablets, capsules, patches, and other solid forms of prescription drugs. Liquids (including intravenous solutions), syringes and other sharp objects, and illegal drugs will not be accepted. DEA will continue to accept vaping devices and cartridges at its drop off locations provided lithium batteries are removed.

Learn more about the event at, or by calling 800-882-9539.

Updated July 8, 2021

Community Outreach