United States Attorney SHAWN N. ANDERSON, for the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands (NMI), will join the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on October 26th for its 18th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. 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 here in Guam and the NMI. This event is an effort to rid homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.
For the first time, DEA will also accept vaping devices, cartridges – in addition to tablets, capsules, patches, and any other medication in solid forms – at any of its drop off locations. It is important to note that DEA cannot accept devices containing lithium-ion batteries. If batteries cannot be removed before drop off, please consult with stores that recycle lithium-ion batteries. DEA is doing all it can to help dispose safely of vaping devices and liquids to get these products off our streets and out of the hands of children.
Last April, citizens of Guam and the NMI turned in 675 pounds collectively. Nationwide, Americans turned in 469 tons (940,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at almost 6,300 sites operated by the DEA and more than 5,000 by its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 17 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 12 million pounds—more than 5,900 tons of medication from circulation. The disposal service is free and anonymous; no questions asked.
Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. 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 home medicine cabinets. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 46 Americans die every day from overdoses involving opioid prescriptions. Some opioid abusers move on from prescription drugs 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 to others and the environment. This initiative addresses the public safety and public health issues that surround drugs languishing in home cabinets, becoming highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.
The following sites in Guam and the NMI are designated to receive unused prescription drugs and vaping device products on Saturday, October 26, 2019, between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.:
- Agana Shopping Center (across from Vitamin World)
- K-Mart (Entrance)
- Andersen Air Force Base Exchange (Inside Entrance)
- Naval Base Guam (Navy Exchange Food Court)
- Saipan Commonwealth Health Center (in front of the pharmacy)
- Rota Health Center
- Tinian Health Center
Contact DEA Resident Agent in Charge Edward Talbot at 671-472-7384 regarding any questions about prescription drug abuse and any concerns regarding drug-related activity on Guam or in the NMI.