Drug Enforcement Administration


Brian M. McKnight, Special Agent in Charge

May 07, 2018

Contact: Cori Rizman

Phone Number: (312) 353-7875

Chicago Field Division Contributes To The Record Number Of Prescription Drugs Collected At 15th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Event

Federal, state and local partners collect close to one million pounds across the country

CHICAGO - 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 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 expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs, making it the most successful event in DEA history.

This brings the total amount of prescription drugs collected by DEA since the fall of 2010 to 9,964,714 pounds, or 4,982 tons. During this 15th event, the Chicago Field Division collected an impressive 136,498 pounds of unwanted prescription drugs with help from the men and women of DEA (and their local counterparts) in Indiana, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

“National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is a day for every American, in every community across the country, to come together and do his or her part to fight the opioid crisis - simply by disposing of unwanted prescription medications from their medicine cabinets,” said DEA Acting Administrator Robert W. Patterson. “This event - our 15th - brings us together with local, state and federal partners to fight the abuse of prescription drugs that is fueling the nation’s opioid epidemic.”

Now in its 9th year, 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.

“Our Chicago area communities are being affected by a national opioid epidemic. This has been spurred, in part, by the rise of misuse of prescription opioids. The magnitude of success with this 15th, and future events, would not be possible without the collaboration of state/local law enforcement, public and private entities, health care community partners, and each individual citizen. With these combined efforts, we can all contribute to affecting true change in fighting the fight against these dark opioid days,” said DEA Chicago Division Special Agent in Charge Brian McKnight.

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

DEA US Badge
United States Drug Enforcement Administration DEA.gov is an official site of the U.S. Department of Justice