Home / News / Thousands of Pounds of Unwanted Medications and Vaping Products Collected During the 18th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Thousands of Pounds of Unwanted Medications and Vaping Products Collected During the 18th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

San Diego CA—Americans nationwide have once again shown their strong support for DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day by dropping off nearly 883,000 pounds of medications during the October 2019 Take Back event.

DEA, along with its law enforcement partners, has now collected nearly 12.7 million pounds of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription medications since the inception of the National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative in 2010. On Oct. 26, the public turned in 882,919 pounds – almost 442 tons – of medication to DEA and 4,896 of its community partners at 6,174 collection sites nationwide, including 135 Bureau of Indian Affairs sites. Since 2017, under this Administration, DEA has collected nearly 5.5 million pounds of medications.

Beginning with October’s campaign, DEA accepted vaping devices and cartridges in addition to medications at all of its drop-off locations. With hundreds of confirmed lung injuries and dozens of deaths attributed to vaping use, DEA is working diligently in our communities and through our outreach efforts to spread the word about the dangers of vaping.

Over the course of four hours, San Diego County residents turned in 6,394 pounds and Imperial County residents turned in 438 pounds of prescription drugs. In addition, law enforcement agencies provided DEA with an additional 1,952 pounds of prescription drugs for destruction that had been collected at drop boxes and other events during the past six months.

“Thank you San Diego and Imperial County residents for being a part of the solution,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Karen Flowers. “Because you took the time to drop off your unwanted medications, you helped keep dangerous medications away from somebody who could abuse them. This is just one important step in reducing the number of opioid addictions in our counties.” Flowers further stated “We also saw residents take advantage of our free service to dispose vaping cartridges and devices, thus helping to combat this new emerging public health threat.”

If you were unable to participate in this event and have prescription drugs you would like properly destroyed, you can take them to one of the many year-round drop boxes at local police stations.

The public has embraced Take Back Day events because they provide easy, no-cost opportunities to remove medicines languishing in the home that are highly susceptible to misuse, abuse, and theft. Public demand for safe and secure drug disposal has also resulted in a significant increase in year-round drug drop boxes at law enforcement facilities, pharmacies, and elsewhere, making drug disposal even more convenient. Complete results for DEA’s spring Take Back Day are available at www.DEATakeBack.com. DEA’s next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is April 25, 2020

Other local participants in this initiative include the San Diego County Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, 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, San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, San Diego County Probation, HIDTA, US Marine Corps, US Navy, San Diego Community College Police Department, San Diego County Prevention Coalitions, Calexico Police Department, Imperial Police Department, El Centro Police Department, Brawley Police Department, Imperial County Sheriff’s Office.