With public participation at an all-time high after six prior events in three years, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its national, tribal, and community partners will hold a seventh National Prescription Drug Take Back Day at thousands of sites across America on Saturday, October 26th. Americans participating in DEA’s six previous Take-Back Days turned in nearly 2.8 million pounds–almost 1,409 tons–of prescription drugs, most recently at more than 5,800 sites operated by over 4,300 of DEA’s law enforcement partners.
There will be 83 collection sites throughout the state of Washington open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. Last April, residents of Washington turned in 14,992 pounds (7.4 tons) of prescription medications. This number surpassed the last Take Back on September 29, 2012 by nearly one ton and record numbers were collected in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Prescription drugs that languish in medicine cabinets create a public health and safety concern because they are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high; almost twice as many Americans (6.8 million) currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those abusing cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and inhalants combined, according to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
The public can find a nearby collection site by visiting www.dea.gov, clicking on the “Got Drugs?” icon, and following the links to a database where they can enter their zip code. Or they can call 1-800-882-9539.
DEA is in the process of drafting regulations to implement the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” (the patient or patient’s caregiver, including the owners of animals being treated by veterinarians) of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances.