DEA, Law Enforcement Prepared for Prescription Drug Take Back Day
PROVIDENCE – U.S. Attorney Aaron L. Weisman, the DEA Providence Resident Office, and state and local law enforcement across Rhode Island today announced that final preparations are underway for the 17th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day to be held next Saturday, April 27. The biannual event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at more than two-dozen safe and anonymous collection sites around Rhode Island and thousands of sites around the nation. The event is an opportunity to rid homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.
Last October Americans turned in 457 tons of unwanted prescription drugs at nearly 6,000 locations across the country. In Rhode Island, more than two tons (4,364 lbs.) of unwanted and expired prescriptions were collected and disposed of by DEA. Overall, in its 16 previous Take back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 11 million pounds – more than 5,400 tons – of pills. The disposal service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Earlier today, United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman and DEA Providence Resident Agent in Charge Sam J. Masiello visited the Warwick Police Department where a secure collection box stands ready to collect unwanted and expired prescriptions 24 hours a day.
“Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs,” noted United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman. “Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. This is a perfect opportunity to Spring clean your medicine cabinet and safely dispose of expired or unwanted prescriptions. It just might save a life.”
“DEA has touched a nerve in America with its recent Take back events, as evidenced by the millions of pounds of pills collected during our previous 16 events,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Boyle. “These events are only made possible through the dedicated work and commitment of our local, state, and federal partners, and DEA thanks each and every one of them for their continuous efforts on behalf of the American people.”
Warwick Police Chief Colonel Rick Rathbun added, “This program allows the public to safely dispose of unwanted and unused drugs that more often than not can wind up in the hands of someone at risk. Without the ability to safely dispose of drugs, to include opioids, our city would be adversely impacted.”
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.
For more information or to locate a collection site near you, go the DEA Prescription Drug Take Back Day web site at www.takepackday.dea.gov/#collectionlocator where you can search by zip code, city, or state.
US Attorney's Office photo