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More Than 13 Tons Prescription Drugs Turned in by Northern California and Central Valley Residents

MAY 06 (SAN FRANCISCO) – Northern California and Central Valley residents turned in 26,333 pounds (13 tons) of prescription drugs during DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.  Nationwide, Americans turned in more unused prescription drugs than on any of the previous 10 events since it began in 2010, demonstrating their understanding of the value of this service. 

Last weekend the DEA and over 4,200 of its state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners collected 893,498 pounds of unwanted medicines—about 447 tons—at almost 5,400 sites spread through all 50 states, beating its previous high of 390 tons in the spring of 2014 by 57 tons, or more than 114,000 pounds.  The top five states with the largest collections, in order, were Texas (almost 40 tons); California (32 tons); Wisconsin (31 tons); Illinois (24 tons); and Massachusetts (24 tons). 

The majority of prescription drug abusers report in surveys that they get their drugs from friends and family.  Americans understand that cleaning out old prescription drugs from medicine cabinets, kitchen drawers, and bedside tables reduces accidents, thefts, and the misuse and abuse of these medicines, including the opioid painkillers that accounted for 20,808 drug overdoses—78 a day—in 2014 (the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).  Eight out of 10 new heroin users began by abusing prescription painkillers and moved to heroin when they could no longer obtain or afford those painkillers.

“Without question removing unwanted prescription drugs not only makes our community safer, but also saves lives,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge John J. Martin.  “We are grateful for the tremendous community response to this event and for the support from our law enforcement partners who make it a success.”


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