Drug Enforcement Administration

San Francisco

Christopher Nielsen, Special Agent in Charge

May 07, 2018

Contact: Casey Rettig

Phone Number: (415) 436-7900

America Responds To National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Northern California federal, state, and local partners collect more than 30,000 pounds

SAN FRANCISCO - Northern Californians did their part to drop off unused, unwanted, or expired prescription medications during the DEA’s 15th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, at more than 150 sites in the region.  Together with our local, state, and federal partners DEA collected and destroyed 30,172 (15 tons) of potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.   

Nationwide, Americans turned in close to one million pounds-nearly 475 tons-of medication, making it the most successful event in DEA history.  This brings the national total amount of prescription drugs collected by DEA since the fall of 2010 to 9,964,714 pounds, or 4,982 tons.

“Removing unwanted medication from the home is an important step in preventing misuse.  We are grateful for all those who took the time to make their community safer by participating in our 15th National Prescription Drug Take Back event,” stated DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Chris Nielsen.  “The success of this program is not possible without our federal, state, and local partners who, like DEA, are dedicated to fighting this national epidemic.”

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day events continue to remove ever-higher amounts of opioids and other medicines from the nation’s homes, where they could be stolen and abused by family members and visitors, including children and teens.

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.

Complete results for DEA’s fall Take Back Day are available at www.deatakeback.com. DEA’s next Prescription Drug Take Back Day is October 27, 2018.

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