The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on Tuesday announced that, working with more than 4,200 local and tribal law enforcement partners, it collected a record-setting 912,305 pounds of expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs for disposal in its 14th Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Oct. 28.
The amount of medications collected at the more than 5,300 participating sites was almost six tons more than was collected at the last such event in the spring. For the latest Take Back Day, the DEA worked with tribal law enforcement partners to set up 115 collection sites for Native American communities.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is in its eighth year of helping U.S. residents safely discard unwanted medications from their homes, where they could become susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse by family members and visitors. The Take Back Day program was created in response to advisories by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration that other methods of discarding prescriptions, such as flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the garbage, can pose safety hazards.
"More people start down the path of addiction through the misuse of opioid prescription drugs than any other substance. The abuse of these prescription drugs has fueled the nation’s opioid epidemic, which has led to the highest rate of overdose deaths this country has ever seen,” said Acting Administrator Robert W. Patterson, in a press release. “This is a crisis that must be addressed from multiple angles. Educating the public and removing these medications from households across the Unites States prevents misuse where it often starts.”
The next Prescription Drug Take Back Day is slated for April 28, 2018.