With opioid overdose deaths increasing during the pandemic, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced its 20th Take Back Day scheduled for April 24, 2021. At its last Take Back Day in October, DEA collected a record-high amount of expired, unused prescription medications, with the public turning in close to 500 tons of unwanted drugs. Over the 10-year span of Take Back Day, DEA has brought in more than 6,800 tons of prescription drugs. With studies indicating a majority of abused prescription drugs come from family and friends, including from home medicine cabinets, clearing out unused medicine is essential.
“The DEA Take Back is a safe, convenient, and responsible program to dispose of prescription drugs and keeping your family and our communities safe,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino. “This initiative is more vital now than ever before due to the alarming spike in overdose deaths throughout our nation. I hope to see record breaking participation this April, which will contribute to the safety of all our citizens and the communities.”
October Drug Take-Back Day
Last October, residents of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington turned in an all-time record for the Pacific Northwest of 40,517 pounds at 150 collection sites. In addition, Alaska and Idaho had all-time record collections. Collection numbers by state are as follows:
Alaska, 4,598 pounds at 16 collection sites.
Idaho, 10,526 pounds at 42 collection sites.
Oregon, 11,551 pounds at 45 collection sites.
Washington, 13,842 pounds at 56 collection sites.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. has seen an increase in overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 83,544 Americans overdosing during the 12-month period ending July 1, 2020, the most ever recorded in a 12-month period. The increase in drug overdose deaths appeared to begin prior to the COVID-19 health emergency, but accelerated significantly during the first months of the pandemic.
The public can drop off potentially dangerous prescription medications at collection sites which will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations in order to maintain the safety of all participants and local law enforcement.
DEA and its partners will collect tablets, capsules, patches, and other solid forms of prescription drugs. Liquids (including intravenous solutions), syringes and other sharps, and illegal drugs will not be accepted. DEA will continue to accept vaping devices and cartridges at its drop off locations provided lithium batteries are removed.
Helping people dispose of potentially harmful prescription drugs is just one way DEA is working to reduce addiction and stem overdose deaths.
The above is a press release from the DEA. The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified its contents and encourages our readers to personally verify any information they find may be overly biased or questionable. The publication of this press release does not indicate an endorsement of its content.