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Press Release

DEA to Accept Electronic Vaping Devices and Cartridges as Part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday

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


Memphis, TN – U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant joins the Drug Enforcement Administration in announcing that on Saturday, October 26, 2019, DEA will hold its 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 here at Kroger, 7615 Highway 70 Bartlett, Tennessee. The event is an effort to rid homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous.

With robust public participation over the course of 16 prior events, the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Initiative continues to remove ever-higher amounts of 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.

For the first time, DEA will now accept vaping devices and cartridges at any of its drop-off locations during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. It is important to note that DEA cannot accept devices containing lithium ion batteries. If batteries cannot be removed prior to drop-off, DEA encourages individuals to consult with stores that recycle lithium ion batteries.

Concerns have been raised across the United States over illnesses and death caused by vaping and the high youth vaping initiation rates. In an effort to support a healthy lifestyle and energetic population, especially among America’s youth, DEA is committed to doing all it can to help safely dispose of vaping devices and substances.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: "Addressing the opioid crisis in our communities requires a comprehensive approach which includes prevention, education, treatment, and enforcement. The DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back event allows everyone to participate in prevention and education that promotes public safety, and I encourage all West Tennesseans to turn in your unused, unwanted, and expired medications. Together, we can prevent addiction, injury and death, and educate the public about the dangers of prescription drug abuse."

"DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative helps get unused and unwanted prescription medications out of circulation and ensures their safe disposal," said Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon. "This year, we are taking a step further by accepting vaping devices and cartridges as we work with our federal partners to combat this emerging public health threat to the nation’s youth."

Now in its tenth year, DEA has collected a total of more than 11 million pounds (almost 6,000 tons) of expired, unused and unwanted prescription medications through its Take Back Day events. DEA is continuing to register law enforcement partners and collection sites for the upcoming Take Back Day. As of October 15, 2019, more than 4,500 registered law enforcement partners will assist with more than 5,250 registered sites and 135 tribal locations across the country, with more being added each day Collection sites will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. The public can find a nearby collection site at or by calling 800-882-9539.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day has received enthusiastic public support since its inception in 2010. Last April, the public turned in 469 tons (937,443pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 6,258 sites operated by the DEA and its 4,969 local and tribal partners.

Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States continue to be alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. The majority of prescription drug abusers say they get their drugs free from friends and family, including from the home medicine cabinet. Take Back Day is a unique opportunity for Americans to protect their homes and medicine cabinets from theft and abuse.


Updated October 23, 2019