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DEA achieves significant milestone during 16th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

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

DEA’s New Orleans Field Division (NOFD), which covers Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas, collected 40,307 pounds—over 21 tons of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs for disposal at collection sites throughout the division. The amounts collected for each state within the NOFD was the following: Louisiana – 3,615 pounds; Mississippi – 5,113 pounds; Alabama – 5,050 pounds; and Arkansas – 26,529 pounds.

“We are pleased at the response of the residents in this region, and we thank them for participating in this critical event – making our homes and communities safe from possible prescription drug abuse or theft, said DEA Special Agent in Charge Stephen G. Azzam. “With the support and hard work of our state and local law enforcement and community partners, these Take-Back events have increased awareness of the opioid epidemic and offered the public a safe and anonymous way to dispose of unwanted and expired medications.”

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 ttps://takebackday.dea.gov/#initiative- results. DEA’s next Prescription Drug Take Back Day is April 27, 2019.

Parents and children are encouraged to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.JustThinkTwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.