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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Iowa

Thursday, April 26, 2018

DEA Prepares for Prescription Drug Takeback Day

United States Attorney Peter E. Deegan, Jr. encourages the public to participate in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Takeback Day.  The biannual event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 28, 2018, at thousands of collection sites around the country, including over 50 here in the Northern District of Iowa. The event is an effort to rid homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. 

United States Attorney Deegan stated, “Our country is in the midst of an opioid and prescription drug abuse epidemic.  Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death for Americans under age 50.”  Deegan added, “Our communities can help combat this epidemic by taking time to get rid of outdated unused prescription drugs.  The DEA’s National Takeback Initiative provides an anonymous and free opportunity to get rid of these unneeded pills.”

Last October, Americans turned in 456 tons (912,305 pounds) of prescription drugs at almost 5,500 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,200 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 14 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 9 million pounds—more than 4,500 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.

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.

Collection sites will be set up throughout communities nationwide.  To locate a collection site near you, go the DEA Office of Diversion Control website at where you can search by zip code, city, or state.  The service is free and anonymous.

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Community Outreach
Prescription Drugs
Updated April 26, 2018