Spokane – William D. Hyslop, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that this Saturday, October 24, 2020, is National Prescription Drug “Take Back Day.”
The United States Attorney’s Office along with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) and the Spokane Police Department will be hosting a drive-thru collection site at the Boy Scouts of America, Inland Northwest Council, located at 411 Boy Scout Way from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Residents can enter at the intersection of Washington and Boy Scout Way (near the east end of the Spokane Memorial Arena parking lot), drive through and drop off unused medications on a “no questions asked basis,” and drive out the southern end of the parking lot.
This event will give the public its 19th opportunity in ten years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. DEA will accept vaping devices and cartridges, provided they do not contain lithium ion batteries, at any of it drop off locations. If batteries cannot be removed prior to drop-off, DEA encourages individuals to consult with stores that recycle lithium ion batteries. (Sites cannot accept liquids, needles or sharps, only pills or patches.) The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
To keep everyone safe, collection sites will follow local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations.
Last fall, Americans turned in nearly 883,000 pounds of prescription drugs at nearly 6,300 sites nationwide operated by the DEA and almost 5,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners. DEA, along with its law enforcement partners, has now collected nearly 6,350 tons of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription medications since the inception of the National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative in 2010. In its 18 previous “take back” events, Washington State alone has collected 15,624 pounds of prescription drugs. Overall, in its 18 previous Take Back events, the State of Washington has collected 256,418 tons of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription medications.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. 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.
United States Attorney Hyslop said, “Prescription Drug ‘Take Back Day’ is an important service provided by the DEA and its local and Tribal law enforcement partners that helps in the prevention of opioid addiction and overdoses. Everyone needs to look in the medicine cabinet and then drop off unused medications. Everyone is urged to participate in this event to safely and anonymously dispose of their expired and unused prescription medications and vaping devices and cartridges. Come snow in Spokane, sleet, COVID-19 and other challenges, we will be there for you!”
“Stop, drop and roll, no questions asked,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis. He further stated that, “With more people staying at home, we must remain vigilant, keeping our loved ones safe by cleaning out our medicine cabinets.”
“Far too often we see the tragic end result of misuse and abuse of prescription drugs. Opioids, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, are a highly addictive drug that while dangerous enough alone, can also lead to addiction to other illegal drugs like heroin. Once hooked, users may likely face a life of drug addiction, crime, and ultimately death.” Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl.
In addition to DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, there are many other ways to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs every day, including the 11,000 authorized collectors that are available all year long. For more information, visit DEA’s year-round collection site locator.
The FDA also provides information on how to properly dispose of prescription drugs. More information is available here: https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/where-and-how-dispose-unused-medicines.
Year-round disposal sites in the Spokane area are located as follows:
• Public Safety Building: 1100 W. Mallon Ave. Spokane 99201
• SPD North Precinct/C.O.P.S. Northeast: 5124 N. Market St. Spokane 99217
• Providence Holy Family Hospital: 5633 N Lidgerwood St. Spokane 99208
• Providence Sacred Heart Hospital: 120 W 8th Ave Spokane 99204 Pharmacy
• Spokane County Sheriff’s Department: 12710 E Sprague Ave Spokane Valley 99216
• SPD Downtown Precinct: 221 W 1st Ave Spokane 99201
• Walgreens: 7905 N Division St Spokane 99208
• Walgreens: 12312 E Sprague Ave Spokane Valley 99216
• Airway Heights PD: 1307 Ziegler St. Airway Heights 99001
• The NATIVE Project: 1803 Maxwell Ave Spokane 99201
For more information about additional collection sites in Eastern Washington and the disposal of prescription drugs for the October 24, 2020, Take Back Day event, go to www.DEATakeBack.com