Drug Enforcement Administration

New Orleans

Stephen G. Azzam, Special Agent in Charge

October 22, 2018

Contact: SA Debbie Webber

Phone Number: (504) 840-1100

DEA and partners hold National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on October 27

DEA aims to dispose of 10 million pounds of unused pills

NEW ORLEANS – After collecting a total of more than 9.9 million pounds (nearly 5,000 tons) of expired, unused and unwanted prescription medications during 15 previous events over the past eight years, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration expects to reach a total of 10 million pounds collected following the upcoming fall 2018 take back event. DEA and its national, tribal and community partners will hold the 16th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day across the country on Saturday, October 27. The service is free and anonymous.

This weekend, more than 5,400 collection sites manned by more than 4,400 partner law enforcement agencies will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. The public can find a nearby collection site at www.DEATakeBack.com or by calling 800-882-9539. (DEA cannot accept liquids, needles or sharps.)

“In the midst of this worst-ever opioid epidemic, where we’re losing over 166 people a day, it’s absolutely critical that we get unused prescription drugs out of homes and dispose of them safely at these drug take back events,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Stephen G. Azzam. "Unfortunately, these drugs are most often obtained from friends and family, who leave them in home medicine cabinets. This event provides citizens an easy and safe way to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs. Please do your part to keep our communities safe by participating in Saturday’s event.”

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a critical public safety and public health issue. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States continue to be alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Because the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration have advised the public that flushing their prescription drugs down the toilet or throwing them in the trash pose potential safety and health hazards, DEA launched its prescription drug take back program to encourage the safe disposal of medications.

National Take Back Day has received robust public support since its inception in 2010. Last April, the public turned in 456 tons (912,305 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,700 of its local and tribal partners nationwide. In the New Orleans Field Division, the following amounts were collected last April:  Louisiana – 4,800 pounds; Mississippi – 4,455 pounds; Alabama – 6,074 pounds; and Arkansas – 27,809 pounds. 

Parents and children are encouraged to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.JustThinkTwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.

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