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Press Release

October 28th Is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina
The Drug Enforcement Administration Is Partnering with Local Law Enforcement Agencies in the Western District to Take Back Unwanted Prescription Drugs

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose announced today that October 28th is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has partnered with state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to give the public an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by safely disposing prescription drug medications at designated locations. The one-day event will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at designated collections sites across the district, and it is an effort to rid homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.

“Prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions in our country, including in this district.  Prescription drugs are the second most commonly used category of drugs, behind marijuana and ahead of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine combined.  They are highly addictive and can devastate families that may suffer from the deadly overdose of a loved one.  Prescription Drug Take Back Day offers an opportunity to remove potentially harmful medications from our homes and to dispose of them in a safe and environmentally responsible manner,” said U.S. Attorney Rose.

Last April, the DEA collected over 26,420 pounds of unwanted prescription drugs in North Carolina.  On a national level, Americans turned in 450 tons (900,000 pounds) of prescription drugs.  Overall, in its 13 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have collected over 8.1 million pounds – more than 4,050 tons – of pills. The disposal service is free and anonymous.  The DEA cannot accept liquids, needles, or sharps, only pills or patches.


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.  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.  This initiative addresses the public safety and public health issues that surround medications stored in home cabinets, becoming highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.


In addition, Americans are advised that their usual method of disposing unwanted medicines – flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash – pose potential safety and health hazards.  Take Back events ensure environmentally responsible disposal of unwanted prescription medications. 


For more information or to locate a collection site near you, go to the DEA Prescription Drug Take Back Day web site at where you can search by zip code, city, or state, or by calling 800-882-9539.


The U.S. Attorney’s Office and DEA encourage parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting the DEA’s interactive websites at, and


Updated October 26, 2017