Drug Enforcement Administration

Washington, DC

Scott Hoernke, Special Agent in Charge

April 26, 2016

Contact: SA Susan Wolf

Phone Number: (202) 305-8500

DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Is Saturday

Twice-annual event takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 30

WASHINGTON - After collecting and destroying 5.5 million pounds-2,762 tons-of unused prescription drugs in the past five years, the U.S. Drug Enforcement (DEA) is continuing its efforts to take back unused, unwanted and expired prescription medications.  The DEA invites the public to bring their potentially dangerous, unwanted medicines to one of over 5,000 collection sites around the country that are manned by more than 3,800 of DEA’s tribal and local law enforcement partners.  This service is free of charge, with no questions asked.

The public can find a nearby collection site by visiting www.dea.gov, clicking on the “Got Drugs?” icon, and entering their zip code into the search window, or they can call 800-882-9539.  Only pills and other solids, like patches, will be accepted-the public should not bring liquids, needles or other sharps to take back sites.

Last September, during the DEA Washington Division’s Prescription Drug Take-Back event, 42,591 pounds of prescription drugs were collected in the combined areas of Washington, D.C., Virginia, West Virginia and in Maryland. Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Division Karl C. Colder announced the results of this event, listed in pounds, for each state during this Take-Back event:

Washington, D.C.: 588                                 Virginia: 27,229
Maryland: 7,508                                            West Virginia: 6,880
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America is presently experiencing an epidemic of addiction, overdose and death due to abuse of prescription drugs, particularly opioid painkillers.  6.5 million Americans abuse prescription drugs, according to the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than abuse cocaine, heroin, and hallucinogens combined. 

“Most prescription drug abusers get their pills from friends and family, including from the household medicine cabinet,” said DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg.  “Please remove unwanted prescription drugs from your homes and help prevent substance abuse fueled by our medicine cabinets.”

Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States, eclipsing deaths from motor vehicle crashes or firearms.  The removal from homes of unwanted prescription pills that can be abused, stolen or resold is an easy way to help fight the epidemic of substance abuse and addiction.

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