The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted a Take Back event on October 28 nationwide to give people the chance to turn in unused prescription medications. The agency’s haul turned out to be tons.
Americans all over the country brought to the DEA and over 4,200 local and tribal law enforcement partners an astounding 912,305 pounds in prescription drugs, The Sacramento Bee reports. That was 456 tons’ worth of expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs for disposal across more than 5,300 collection sites.
The DEA conducts the Take Back event every two years, aimed at reducing instances of substance abuse and addiction by getting people to clean out their medicine cabinets.
John J. Martin, special agent in charge of the DEA’s San Francisco Division, stated,
America is in the midst of a prescription drug crisis and the home medicine cabinet is a major source. Let’s work together to help put an end to this epidemic by cleaning out that cabinet and disposing of unwanted medication at a take back location.
The San Francisco Division collected 15.5 tons of prescription drugs during the Take Back event at its 150 collection sites.
The United States is still battling an unprecedented opioid crisis. Overdose fatalities from prescription medicines like painkillers are at a 15-year high in California alone. In 2016, around 64,000 people died of drug overdoses, most of which involved opioids.
Robert W. Patterson, Acting Administrator for the DEA, said, “More people start down the path of addiction through the misuse of opioid prescription drugs than any other substance. The abuse of these prescription drugs has fueled the nation’s opioid epidemic, which has led to the highest rate of overdose deaths this country has ever seen.” He added, “This is a crisis that must be addressed from multiple angles. Educating the public and removing these medications from households across the Unites States prevents misuse where it often starts.”