Drug Enforcement Administration

El Paso

Kyle Williamson, Special Agent in Charge

May 04, 2018

Contact: Lucy Holcomb

Phone Number: (915) 832-6000

DEA Brings In Record Number Of Unused Pill During 15th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

EL PASO - Americans nationwide did their part to drop off a record number of unused, unwanted or expired prescription medications during the DEA’s 15th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day at close to 6,000 collection sites across the country. Together with a record-setting amount of local, state and federal partners, DEA collected and destroyed close to one million pounds-nearly 475 tons-of potentially dangerous prescription drugs, making it the most successful event in DEA history.

This brings the total amount of expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs collected by DEA since the fall of 2010 to now to 9,964,714 pounds or 4,982 tons.

Locally, the DEA El Paso Division, which covers West Texas and all of New Mexico, brought in 10,728.64 pounds during this event. For complete nationwide results, go to www.deatakeback.com.

“More people die each year from prescription pain killer overdoses than from illegal drugs because they believe that taking a prescription pill is a safe way to get high,” said Kyle W. Williamson, DEA Special Agent in Charge of the El Paso Division. “By offering safe and secure options for our citizens to dispose of their unwanted prescription drugs, we are reducing the likelihood of overdose deaths.”

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 U.S. 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. DEA launched its prescription drug take back program when both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration advised the public that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines-flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash-posed potential safety and health hazards.

Helping people to dispose of potentially harmful prescription drugs is just one way DEA is working to reduce the addiction and overdose deaths plaguing this country due to opioid medications. DEA’s next Take Back Day will be October 27, 2018.

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