KNOXVILLE – United States Attorney J. Douglas Overbey wants to encourage the public to participate in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) 17th National Prescription Drug Takeback Day on Saturday, April 27, 2019. The biannual event will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at thousands of collection sites around the country, including several here in the Eastern District of Tennessee. The event is an effort to rid homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.
“Over the past decade, the death toll from prescription painkillers has tripled. Every year, more people die from prescription painkiller overdoses than from heroin, cocaine, or any other illegal drug,” said U.S. Attorney Overbey. “Adolescents and young adults are especially vulnerable because many teens that begin abusing prescription drugs turn to heroin for a cheaper high. Please take this opportunity to check your medicine cabinets and take advantage of DEA Prescription Drug Takeback Day to dispose of any unused, unwanted, and expired medicine safely.”
“At a time when prescription opioid pain relievers are killing more Americans than car accidents, the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is an easy way we can all make sure that our unneeded, unused, or expired medications don’t end up in the wrong hands,” said D. Christopher Evans, Special Agent In Charge of DEA’s Louisville Field Division.
Last October Americans turned in 457 tons (900,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at almost 6,000 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,800 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 16 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 11 million pounds—more than 5,400 tons—of pills. The disposal service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. (The DEA cannot accept liquids, needles, or sharps, only pills or patches.)
Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 91 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose. Some painkiller abusers move on to heroin: Four out of five new heroin users started with painkillers.
Flushing medications down the toilet or throwing them in the trash pose potential safety and health hazards. This initiative addresses the public safety and public health issues that surround medications languishing in home cabinets, becoming highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.
For more information or to locate a collection site near you, go the DEA Prescription Drug Take Back Day web site at https://takebackday.dea.gov/#collection-locator where you can search by zip code, city, or state.