SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The DEA is holding its 19th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 24, at locations across the country. Since the initiative began in 2010, the DEA has sponsored spring and fall campaigns to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means to dispose of prescription drugs and to educate the public about the potential for abuse of medications. In Central Illinois, last year, the DEA collected approximately 17,400 pounds of pharmaceuticals during Take Back Day.
“I urge everyone to take advantage of this service provided by DEA, in partnership with local law enforcement agencies, to safely dispose of unused and expired pharmaceutical medications,” said U.S. Attorney John Milhiser. “The collection slogan, ‘Don’t Be The Dealer,’ highlights the dangers these medications pose when they end up in the wrong hands.”
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.
“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.”
To find a collection site near you, visit www.deatakeback.com, and enter your zip code. Collection sites 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. 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.
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.