BOISE – Acting U.S. Attorney Rafael M. Gonzalez, Jr. wants to ensure that Idahoans are aware how to rid their homes of unused and unwanted medications.
With opioid overdose deaths increasing during the pandemic, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is holding its 20th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day this Saturday, April 24, 2021, at locations across the country, including 38 here in Idaho. The nationwide initiative aims to addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.
“Prescription medications often end up in the wrong hands, fueling an epidemic that kills more Americans than car accidents,” said Gonzalez. “DEA is providing an actionable way for our communities to step up and help combat this crisis by simply cleaning out their medicine cabinet. I urge Idahoans to do their part by going to a collection site and safely disposing of unused, expired, and dangerous prescriptions. DEA makes it easy for all of us and I thank them for organizing this biannual event.”
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 most abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
Collection sites will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations in order to maintain the safety of all participants and local law enforcement.
“You can help save lives by participating in DEA’s Drug Take Back Day,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino. “More than 87,200 drug overdose deaths occurred in a one-year period in the U.S., the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period. We can all do our part by disposing of unwanted and expired prescription medications at one of the 176 collection sites.”
Given the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, DEA wants to ensure that the public is aware of other ways they can dispose of unwanted prescription drugs without having to leave their homes. Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have tips on how to safely dispose of drugs at home.
In addition to DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, prescription drugs can be disposed of at any of the 11,000 DEA authorized collectors at any time throughout the year. For more information, visit: www.apps2.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/.
“It’s important to keep our own homes safe by regularly cleaning out medicine cabinets and any other areas where we store our pharmaceuticals,” said DEA Acting Administrator D. Christopher Evans. “Bringing unused or expired medications to a local collection site for safe disposal helps protect your loved ones and the environment.”
DEA also encourages the public to reach out to their local law enforcement agencies to find out if they have any permanent drug disposal locations throughout their local community.
DEA and its partners will collect tablets, capsules, patches, and other solid forms. DEA will continue to accept vaping devices and cartridges at any drop off location, as long as the lithium batteries are removed. 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. This service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Since it was established in 2010, DEA has held 19 National Prescription Drug Take Back Day events, which have, collectively, removed 13,684,848 pounds (more than 6,842 tons) of medications from circulation.
For more information on DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, and to find a collection site near you, visit www.deatakeback.com
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