Drug Enforcement Administration

DEA Headquarters

October 18, 2019

Contact: National Media Affairs Office

Phone Number: (202) 307-7977

DEA to accept electronic vaping devices and cartridges as part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

WASHINGTON – With robust public participation over the course of 17 prior events, the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Initiative continues to remove ever-higher amounts of opioids and other medicines from the nation’s homes, where they are vulnerable to misuse, theft or abuse by family members and visitors, including children and teens.

On Saturday, October 26, in continuation of this effort, DEA and its national, tribal and community partners will hold the 18th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day across the country. The service is free and anonymous.

For the first time, DEA will now accept vaping devices and cartridges at any of its drop off locations during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. It is important to note that DEA cannot accept devices containing lithium ion batteries. If batteries cannot be removed prior to drop-off, DEA encourages individuals to consult with stores that recycle lithium ion batteries.

Concerns have been raised across the United States over illnesses and death caused by vaping and the high youth vaping initiation rates. In an effort to support a healthy lifestyle and energetic population, especially amongst America’s youth, DEA is committed to doing all it can to help safely dispose of vaping devices and substances. 

“DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative helps get unused and unwanted prescription medications out of circulation and ensures their safe disposal,” said Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon.  “This year, we are taking a step further by accepting vaping devices and cartridges as we work with our federal partners to combat this emerging public health threat to the nation’s youth.”

Now in its tenth year, DEA has collected a total of more than 11 million pounds (almost 6,000 tons) of expired, unused and unwanted prescription medications through its Take Back Day events. DEA is continuing to register law enforcement partners and collection sites for the upcoming Take Back Day. As of Oct. 15, more than 4,500 registered law enforcement partners will assist with more than 5,250 registered sites and 135 tribal locations across the country, with more being added each day Collection sites will be open from 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.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day has received enthusiastic public support since its inception in 2010. Last April, the public turned in 469 tons (937,443pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 6,258 sites operated by the DEA and its 4,969 local and tribal partners.  

For more information about the harms of youth vaping, please visit DEA's site JustThinkTwice.

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