Drug Enforcement Administration

Seattle

Keith R. Weis, Special Agent in Charge

November 06, 2018

Contact: Jodie Underwood

Phone Number: (206) 553-5443

Over 17 tons of prescription drugs collected in the Pacific Northwest during the 16th National Take Back Day

SEATTLE -  With the robust participation of Americans nationwide, DEA and its law enforcement partners have now surpassed its 10 million pound goal and collected nearly 11 million pounds of unused, unwanted or expired prescription medications over the course of 16 successful DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back events. During the 16th semiannual event on Oct. 27, DEA and federal, state and local partners disposed of more than 900,000 pounds of prescription medications collected at nearly 6,000 sites across the country. Together with almost 5,000 local, state and federal partners, DEA collected and destroyed more than 457 tons of potentially dangerous leftover prescription drugs.

This brings the total amount of prescription drugs collected by DEA since the fall of 2010 to 10,878,950 pounds, or 5439.5 tons.

In a four hour period, residents of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska combined, turned in 35,017 pounds (17 tons) of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at a record 211 take-back sites.

When the results of the 16 DEA Take Back Days for the PNW are combined, the DEA and its state, local, and tribal law-enforcement and community partners have removed 478,042 pounds (239 tons) of medication from circulation. 

The following are the results broken down by state:

  • Washington –  15,279 pounds (7.6 tons) removed from circulation.
  • Idaho –  3,269 pounds (1.6 tons) removed from circulation.
  • Oregon –  12,492 pounds (6.2 tons) removed from circulation.
  • Alaska –  3,977 pounds (2 tons) removed from circulation.

“The results of our most recent Take Back Day clearly demonstrate a need for this initiative as a tool in the fight against America’s opioid crisis,” said Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon. “The success of this event is a direct reflection of DEA’s commitment to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths in the U.S. Together, we are all helping to make a difference to keep our friends and families safe.”  

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day events continue to remove 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.

DEA began putting on Take Back Day events when the public had no other way to appropriately dispose of their leftover painkillers and other potentially dangerous drugs. These events have been extremely successful not only in getting unused drugs out of the house, but also in raising awareness of their link to addiction and overdose deaths. Since DEA launched this program nine years ago, doctors are prescribing fewer painkillers, and law enforcement agencies, pharmacies and others have installed permanent prescription drug drop boxes on-site, making drug disposal even more convenient.

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 https://takebackday.dea.gov/#initiative-results. DEA’s next Prescription Drug Take Back Day is April 27, 2019.

 

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