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DEA highlights many ways to dispose of unwanted, unused prescription drugs during pandemic

PORTLAND, Maine: U.S. Attorney Halsey Frank announced today that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is holding its 19th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, October 24, 2020, at locations throughout the State of Maine. The nationwide event aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.

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. 

Collection sites will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations in order to maintain the safety of all participants and local law enforcement.

“This is a great opportunity for Maine citizens to help ensure they are not contributing to the State’s drug addiction crisis,” U.S. Attorney Frank said. “The misuse of prescription drugs contributes greatly to the addiction problems we are seeing in this state. Disposing of them in a controlled environment is an excellent way to ensure they are not abused, so I encourage everyone to take part in Prescription Drug Take Back Day.”

“The initiative – now in its tenth year – addresses a vital public safety and public health issue,” said DEA Acting Administrator Timothy Shea. “Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Together with our partners, we are not only holding National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, but offering other ways to dispose of unwanted, unused, and expired prescription medications.”

“Our take-back events highlight the problems associated to prescription drug abuse and gives our citizens an opportunity to contribute to the solution,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Boyle. “These efforts help remove unwanted, expired and unused prescription pills that can be abused, stolen or resold which helps our continued dedication to combat the prescription pill, fentanyl and heroin epidemic of substance abuse and addiction.”

Given the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, DEA wants to ensure that the public is aware of other ways they can dispose of unwanted prescription drugs without having to leave their homes. Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have tips on how to safely dispose of drugs at home.

In addition to DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, prescription drugs can be disposed of at any of the 11,000 DEA authorized collectors at any time throughout the year. For more information, visit: https://apps2.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubdispsearch/spring/main?execution=e1s1.

DEA also encourages the public to reach out to their local law enforcement agency to find out if they have any permanent drug disposal locations throughout their local community.

DEA and its partners will collect tablets, capsules, patches, and other solid forms. DEA will also accept vape pens or other e-cigarette devices from individual consumers, only after the batteries are removed from the devices. If the battery cannot be removed, individual consumers can check with large electronic chain stores who may accept the vape pen or e-cigarette devices for proper disposal. Liquids, including intravenous solutions, syringes and other sharps, and illegal drugs cannot be dropped off. This service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

For more information on DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, and to find a collection site in Maine, visit www.deatakeback.com.

MIL Security OSI