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(Photo courtesy: DEA-San Diego)

DEA Achieves Significant Milestone During 16th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Americans across the country dropped off unused pills reaching a program total of nearly 11 million pounds

San Diego CA—  With the robust participation of Americans nationwide, DEA and its law enforcement partners have now surpassed its 10 million pound goal and collected nearly 11 million pounds of unused, unwanted or expired prescription medications over the course of 16 successful DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back events. During the 16th semiannual event on Oct. 27, DEA and federal, state and local partners disposed of more than 900,000 pounds of prescription medications collected at nearly 6,000 sites across the country. Together with almost 5,000 local, state and federal partners, DEA collected and destroyed more than 457 tons of potentially dangerous leftover prescription drugs.

This brings the total amount of prescription drugs collected by DEA since the fall of 2010 to 10,878,950 pounds, or 5439.5 tons. Over the course of four hours, San Diego County residents turned in 8,398 pounds and Imperial County residents turned in 527.15 pounds of prescription drugs. In addition, law enforcement agencies provided DEA with an additional 17,356 pounds of prescription drugs for destruction that had been collected at drop boxes and other events.

“The results of our most recent Take Back Day clearly demonstrate a need for this initiative as a tool in the fight against America’s opioid crisis,” said Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon. “The success of this event is a direct reflection of DEA’s commitment to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths in the U.S. Together, we are all helping to make a difference to keep our friends and families safe.”

“Thank you to everyone in San Diego and Imperial Counties who participated in Take Back Day,” said Special Agent in Charge Karen Flowers. “By properly disposing of your unused prescription drugs, you’ve become part of the solution to ending the opioid crisis in the United States. We need to continue working together to keep unused, unwanted or expired prescription drugs away from those who could misuse or abuse them.”

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day events continue to remove opioids and other medicines from the nation’s homes, where they could be stolen and abused by family members and visitors, including children and teens. DEA began putting on Take Back Day events when the public had no other way to appropriately dispose of their leftover painkillers and other potentially dangerous drugs. These events have been extremely successful not only in getting unused drugs out of the house, but also in raising awareness of their link to addiction and overdose deaths. Since DEA launched this program nine years ago, doctors are prescribing fewer painkillers, and law enforcement agencies, pharmacies and others have installed permanent prescription drug drop boxes on-site, making drug disposal even more convenient. Helping people to dispose of potentially harmful prescription drugs is just one way DEA is working to reduce the addiction and overdose deaths plaguing this country due to opioid medications.

Complete results for DEA’s fall Take Back Day are available at https://takebackday.dea.gov/#initiative-results. DEA’s next Prescription Drug Take Back Day is April 27, 2019.

Other local participants in this initiative include the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, San Diego Police Department, La Mesa Police Department, El Cajon Police Department, Chula Vista Police Department, National City Police Department, Carlsbad Police Department, Oceanside Police Department, Coronado Police Department, Escondido Police Department, SDSU Police Department, California Department of Justice, Veterans Administration Police, San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, San Diego County Probation, Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, HIDTA, US Marine Corps, US Navy, San Diego Community College Police Department, San Diego County Health & Human Services, San Diego County Prevention Coalitions, Calexico Police Department, Imperial Police Department, El Centro Police Department, Brawley Police Department, Calipatria Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Imperial County Sheriff’s Office.