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Press Release

U.S. Attorney Encourages Public Participation in DEA’s 17th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina --- U.S. Attorney Sherri A. Lydon today encouraged public participation in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s 17th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.  The biannual event will take place this Saturday, April 27, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at thousands of collection sites around the country, including 66 here in South Carolina.  National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is an effort to remove opioids and other medicines from the nation’s homes, where they are vulnerable to misuse, theft, or abuse by family members and visitors, including children and teens.

“Opioid fatalities in South Carolina swelled by 700% between 2002 and 2017,” said U.S. Attorney Lydon.  “Working together, we can break the vicious cycle of drug abuse, addiction, and overdose that has devastated countless families across our state.  The DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is an opportunity to safely dispose of your prescription drugs, helping to keep dangerous narcotics out of the wrong hands and to stop opioid addiction before it starts.”

Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division said, “Addressing the problem of the abuse of controlled pharmaceuticals continues to be one of DEA’s top priorities. One way to address this issue is to encourage the public to properly remove their unwanted, unused, and dated prescription medications from their homes. DEA and its law enforcement, tribal, and community partners are holding its seventeenth take-back event in order to child proof and teen proof homes so that these medications cannot be abused. I invite you to do your part in the midst of this opioid crisis as we strive to make our communities safer.”

Last October, South Carolinians participating in DEA’s Drug Take Back Day turned in 7,526 pounds of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal.  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.  (The DEA cannot accept liquids, needles, or sharps.  It can accept 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, visit



Lance Crick (864) 282-2105

Updated April 25, 2019

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