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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Discard Unwanted Drugs: DEA’s Pill Take Back Day

CEDAR RAPIDS, IAOn Saturday, October 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its 12th opportunity in six years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. 

Cedar Rapids and Dubuque are hosting sites.  In Cedar Rapids, bring your pills for disposal to the police department located at 515 1st Street S.W.  In Dubuque, the drop off site is located at the Sam’s Club parking lot, 4400 Ashbury Road.  The drop off sites cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches.  The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Last April, Americans turned in 447 tons (over 893,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at almost 5,400 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,200 of its state and local law enforcement partners.  Overall, in its 11 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 6.4 million pounds—about 3,200 tons—of pills. 

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.  Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including 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—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

United States Attorney Kevin W. Techau stated, “In 2015 alone, more than half of the over 40,000 unintentional drug overdose deaths in the United States involved prescription drugs, and hazardous opioid pain relievers led to about 17,000 of those deaths. Young people are especially susceptible to these dangers.  Nearly four in 10 teens who have misused or abused a prescription drug obtained it from their parents’ medicine cabinet. Clearly prescription drug addiction and abuse represent nothing less than a public health crisis.  We appreciate DEA’s effort to remove this poison from homes so that it does not end up in the wrong hands.”

For more information about DEA’s drug diversion program efforts and the disposal of prescription drugs go to: https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov.

Those unable to participate next Saturday are offered year around opportunities in Iowa to discard unused, expired and unwanted medications at locations around the state.  To find those sites, go to the Iowa Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy: https://odcp.iowa.gov/rxtakebacks.

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Topic(s): 
Community Outreach
Prescription Drugs
Component(s): 
Updated October 24, 2016