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Press Release

DEA Brings In Record Number of Unused Pills during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

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

Americans nationwide did their part to drop off a record number of unused, unwanted or expired prescription medications during the DEA’s 15th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, at close to 6,000 sites across the country. Together with a record-setting amount of local, state and federal partners, DEA collected and destroyed close to one million pounds—nearly 475 tons—of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs, making it the most successful event in DEA history. This brings the total amount of prescription drugs collected nationwide by DEA since the fall of 2010 to 9,964,714 pounds, or 4,982 tons.

Oklahomans located in the 11 counties (Tulsa, Pawnee, Osage, Creek, Washington, Nowata, Rogers, Craig, Mayes, Ottawa, and Delaware Counties) which comprise the federal Northern District of Oklahoma also participated in record numbers, resulting in the collection of 1,160 pounds of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. United States Attorney Trent Shores and DEA Special Agent in Charge Clyde E. Shelley, Jr., championed the efforts of federal, state, local, and tribal community partners who helped make the event a success.

“I am thankful to the DEA and every Oklahoman who participated in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The simple act of safely disposing of outdated and unused prescription drugs helps to stop the spread of addiction and keeps those drugs out of the wrong hands. Far too many Oklahomans began their paths to addiction through the misuse of unneeded prescription drugs just sitting in a medicine cabinet at home,” said United States Attorney Shores.

“We know as a society, we cannot enforce our way out of the raging opioid crisis.  I want to thank all of you in the communities who came out and did their part helping us to collect medications which are no longer needed and taking the curiosity out of the cabinets.  Doing this may have saved someone from becoming an addict,” SAC Shelley stated.  “We collected 1,160 pounds at NTBI XIII on April 28th in the Northern District of Oklahoma.  It is an increase of 256 pounds collected from NTBI XII,” said SAC Shelley.

Now in its 9th year, National Prescription Drug Take Back Day events continue to remove ever-higher amounts of opioids and other medicines from the nation’s homes, where they could be stolen and abused by family members and visitors, including children and teens.

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.

DEA launched its prescription drug take back program when both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration advised the public that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—posed potential safety and health hazards.

Helping people to dispose of potentially harmful prescription drugs is just one way DEA is working to reduce the addiction and overdose deaths plaguing this country due to opioid medications.

Complete results for DEA’s fall Take Back Day are available at DEA’s next Prescription Drug Take Back Day is October 27, 2018.


R. Trent Shores

Updated May 8, 2018

Community Outreach