Drug Enforcement Administration


Keith R. Weis, Special Agent in Charge

May 06, 2016

Contact: Jodie Underwood

Phone Number: (206) 553-1162

The Pacific Northwest Collects 16 Tons At The Latest DEA National Drug Take-Back Day

Record numbers collected nationwide

SEATTLE - Residents of the Pacific (PNW) responded overwhelmingly to the most recent DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.  On April 30, 2016, in a four hour period, residents of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska combined, turned in 31,872 (16 tons) of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at the 168 take-back sites.

“In a time when opioid abuse has increased so dramatically nationwide, our communities of the Northwest really rose to the challenge by safely removing significant amounts of unused pharmaceutical drugs from unintended circulation,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis.

When the results of the 11 DEA Take Back Days for the PNW are combined, the DEA and its state, local, and tribal law-enforcement and community partners have removed over 300,328 (150.2 tons) of medication from circulation. 
The following are the results broken down by state:

  • Washington - 13,800 (6.9 tons) removed from circulation.
  • Idaho - 3,068 (1.5 tons) removed from circulation.
  • Oregon - 10,842 (5.4 tons) removed from circulation.
  • Alaska - 4162 (2.1 tons) removed from circulation.

Nationwide, 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 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 (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.

The public can submit tips anonymously, via a DEA text tip line.  Utilizing a mobile device, send a text to “TIP411” and start your message with “TIPDEA.”

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