Record Number of Unused Pills Collected in Drug Take Back Day

The DEA was able to collect and destroy nearly one million pounds—almost 475 tons—of potentially dangerous prescription medications. Since the fall of 2010, the DEA has collected a total of 9,964,714 pounds of prescription drugs, or 4,982 tons.

A record number of unused, unwanted, or expired prescription medications were collected during the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s 15th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day at close to 6,000 sites across the U.S., the DEA reported.

The DEA was able to collect and destroy nearly one million pounds—almost 475 tons—of potentially dangerous prescription medications. Since the fall of 2010, the DEA has collected a total of 9,964,714 pounds of prescription drugs, or 4,982 tons.

“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,” DEA Acting Administrator Robert W. Patterson said. “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.”

In addition to curbing the potential safety and health hazards posed by disposing of unused medications by flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash, National Prescription Drug Take Back Day events remove opioids and other medications from homes where they could be stolen and abused by family members and visitors.

Rates of prescription drug abuse are high in the U.S., as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are taken from family and friends, including from medicine cabinets.

DEA’s next Prescription Drug Take Back Day is October 27, 2018.

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