U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph urges public to dispose of unused prescription drugs
SHREVEPORT, LAFAYETTE, MONROE, ALEXANDRIA, LAKE CHARLES, La. – United States Attorney David C. Joseph urges the public to discard unused prescription drugs this weekend at area collection sites during Drug Take Back Day.
“The DEA’s Drug Take Back Day gives the public an opportunity to rid homes of unnecessary and potentially dangerous drugs without discarding them into our environment or letting them fall into the hands of those who would abuse them,” Joseph stated. “Discarding these items is one way we can safely remove substances such as opioids from our communities and reduce chances that they could be stolen or misplaced.”
Last fall Americans turned in 456 tons (912,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,300 sites operated by the DEA and almost 4,300 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 14 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in more than 9 million pounds—more than 4,500 tons—of pills.
Unused medicines in the home are a problem because the majority of the 6.4 million Americans who abused prescription drugs in 2015, including the almost 4 million who abused prescription painkillers, say they obtained those drugs from friends and family, including from a home medicine cabinet, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health released last month. Some painkiller abusers move on to heroin; four out of five new heroin users started with painkillers. In 2016, nearly 64,000 people died of drug overdoses in America – with synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, heroin, and common opioid painkillers like Percocet and OxyContin topping other causes of overdose, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses because of these drugs. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows year after year that the majority of misused and abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including someone else’s medication being stolen from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.
The DEA will have collection sites across the country on Saturday, April 28, for those who are interested in bringing their unused or expired prescription drugs for proper disposal. Only pills and other solids, like patches, can be brought to the collection sites – liquids and needles or other sharp objects will not be accepted. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Prescription drugs can be dropped off from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., April 28, at:
- Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff’s Safety Town in the parking lot of Summer Grove Baptist Church, 8910 Jewella Ave.
- Louisiana State Police, Troop F, 3811 Desiard St.
- University of Louisiana at Monroe Police Department, 1240 LA 594
- Alexandria City Marshal’s Office, 515 Washington St.
- Alexandria Police Department, 1000 Bolton Ave.
- Lafayette Sheriff’s Office, 1825 W. Willow St.
- Lake Charles Police Department, 900 Lake Short Drive (Civic Center)
- Louisiana State Police, Troop D, 805 Main St.
The public can also find other collection sites by visiting Takebackday.dea.gov, and following the links to a database where they enter their zip code. Additionally, there are permanent drop-off boxes, which can also be found at Takebackday.dea.gov.