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Press Release

DEA, Local and State Law Enforcement Set for Prescription Drug Takeback Day

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island
Dozens of locations in Rhode Island set to accept unwanted and expired prescription drugs

PROVIDENCE – Acting United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch is joining the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Rhode Island state and local law enforcement this Saturday, October 28, for DEA’s 14th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The biannual event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at thousands of collection sites around the country, including dozens here in Rhode Island. The event is an effort to rid homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.


Acting United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch strongly urges Rhode Islanders to take a few minutes on Saturday to safely dispose of unwanted and expired prescriptions. “Disposing of unwanted and sometimes dangerous prescription medication is a small but important step to ensure that unwanted or unused medications are safely removed from medicine cabinets and other storage areas in homes, and don’t end up in the hands of individuals who should not have access to them. Too often we hear about addiction problems that began with unused medications stored in homes that fall into the wrong hands.”


Last April Americans turned in 450 tons (900,000 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 13 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 8.1 million pounds—more than 4,050 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.


For more information or to locate a collection site near you, go the DEA Prescription Drug Take Back Day web site at where you can search by zip code, city, or state.




Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
on Twitter @USAO_RI

Updated October 24, 2017

Community Outreach
Prescription Drugs
Press Release Number: 17-126