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Press Release

DEA and Partners Hold Prescription Drug Take Back Day Saturday

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

Thousands of communities participate in this weekend’s event

Boston, MA – This weekend DEA will once again conduct one of its most popular community programs: National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. On Saturday October 22 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. the public can dispose of their expired, unused, and unwanted prescription medications at one of 566 collection sites throughout New England, operated by 505 local law enforcement agencies and other community partners. The service is free of charge, no questions asked and most of these collection sites can be found in the lobby of your local Police Department.

America is presently experiencing an epidemic of addiction, overdose and death due to abuse of prescription drugs, particularly opioid painkillers. 6.4 million Americans age 12 and over—2.4 percent of the population—abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health released last month, more than abuse cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, and methamphetamine combined. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States, eclipsing deaths from motor vehicle crashes or firearms. The majority of prescription drug abusers report that they obtain their drugs from friends and family, including from the home medicine cabinet.

“The diversion of prescription pain killers contribute to the widespread abuse of opiates, is the gateway to heroin addiction, and is devastating our communities,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Ferguson. "Many Americans are not aware that medicines which languish in home cabinets are highly vulnerable to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisoning and overdoses due to the illegal use of these drugs. Please take the time to clean out your medicine cabinet and make your home safe from drug theft and abuse."

Vermont’s United States Attorney, Eric Miller, added, “The misuse and abuse of prescription opioids touched off Vermont’s current heroin epidemic and continues to contribute to overdose deaths and injuries. Vermonters can play an important role in protecting public health and safety by cleaning out their medicine cabinets and safely disposing of prescription drugs they no longer need.”

Last April, during its 11th Take Back Day, the DEA New England Field Division (NEFD) participated in the Drug Take-Back Day and over the course of four hours 86,900 pounds of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs were collected at 551 collection sites throughout New England. The following was the breakdown of collected weights for the six New England states:

Connecticut 8,815.50 lbs.
Massachusetts 25,028 lbs.
Maine 31,960 lbs.
New Hampshire 12,560 lbs.
Rhode Island 3,460 lbs.
Vermont 5,094.60 lbs.
Total for NEFD 86,918.1 lbs.

The public can find a nearby collection site by visiting, clicking on the “Got Drugs?” icon, and following the links to a database where they enter their zip code. Or they can call 800-882-9529. Only pills and other solids, like patches, can be brought to the collection sites—liquids and needles or other sharps will not be accepted.

Updated October 19, 2016

Prescription Drugs