Drug Enforcement Administration

San Francisco

Christopher Nielsen, Special Agent in Charge

October 21, 2019

Contact: Casey Rettig

Phone Number: (415) 436-7994

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

SAN FRANCISCO – 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.

"The DEA encourages individuals to help make the community safer by removing unwanted prescription medications from their homes. This semi-annual event is a chance to do that anonymously and safely. For the first time in the history of this program we will be accepting vaping devices and cartridges," stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Chris Nielsen. "The success of this initiative, which continues to grow, would not be possible without our local, state and federal partners."   

Now in its 10th year, DEA San Francisco Division has collected a total of nearly 492,000 pounds (almost 246 tons) of expired, unused and unwanted medications through its Take Back Day events. DEA is continuing to register law enforcement partners and collection sites for the upcoming Take Back Day. In Northern California there are nearly 100 registered law enforcement partners who will assist with more than 150 registered sites, 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. Across America last April the public turned in 469 tons of prescription drugs.  

For more information about the harms of youth vaping, please visit: https://www.justthinktwice.gov/facts/vaping-what-you-should-know.

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