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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 28, 2016

DEA Taking Back Unwanted Prescription Drugs at 103 Locations in New Mexico on Saturday

HOPE Initiative Partners Support DEA’s 11th National Take Back Event

ALBUQUERQUEAfter collecting and destroying 5.5 million pounds – 2,762 tons – of unused prescription drugs in the past five years, the DEA is continuing its efforts to take back unused, unwanted and expired prescription medications.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the University of New Mexico’s Health Sciences Center are supporting DEA’s National Take Back Initiative as part of the prevention and education component of the New Mexico Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Initiative.  

On Saturday, April 30, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the DEA will give the public its 11th opportunity in six years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.  DEA and more than 50 of its law enforcement partners will staff 103 Drug Take Back collection sites in New Mexico.

The public can find a nearby Drug Take Back collection site by visiting www.dea.gov, clicking on the “Got Drugs?” icon, and entering their zip code into the search window, or they can call 800-882-9539.  Only pills and other solids, like patches, will be accepted at DEA Drug Take Back collection sites – the public should not bring liquids, needles or other sharp items to take back sites.  This service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

 “America is experiencing an epidemic of addiction, overdose and death due to abuse of prescription drugs, particularly opioid painkillers, and New Mexico has the second highest drug overdose death rate in the country,” said U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez.  “Properly disposing of unused prescription drugs is a simple and easy way for all of us to help fight this deadly epidemic.”

“We here at the UNM Health Sciences Center completely support the DEA’s National Take Back Initiative,” said Dr. Paul Roth, Chancellor of the UNM Health Sciences Center. “We're committed to working with all our HOPE Initiative partners to eliminate the epidemic of drug addiction, overdoses and deaths that has brought heartache to so many families in our state."

“Prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, and many addicts get their start in the family medicine cabinet,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Sean R. Waite of the DEA’s Albuquerque District Office.  “DEA’s National Take Back Initiative offers a safe way for New Mexicans to dispose of their unwanted prescription drugs. Through this initiative, we ask for the public’s help in reducing the threat that these drugs pose to the health and safety of our communities.”

The HOPE Initiative was launched in January 2015 by the UNM Health Sciences Center and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in response to the national opioid epidemic that has had a disproportionately devastating impact on New Mexico.  Opioid addiction has taken a toll on public safety, public health and the economic viability of our communities.  Working in partnership with Bernalillo County, DEA, Healing Addiction in our Community (HAC) and other community stakeholders, HOPE’s principal goals are to protect our communities from the dangers associated with heroin and opioid painkillers and reducing the number of opioid-related deaths in New Mexico.  The HOPE Initiative is comprised of five components:  (1) prevention and education; (2) treatment; (3) law enforcement; (4) reentry; and (5) strategic planning.  Learn more about the New Mexico HOPE Initiative at http://www.HopeInitiativeNM.org.

Topic(s): 
Community Outreach
Prescription Drugs
Component(s): 
Updated April 28, 2016