Nearly 1 Million Pounds Of Prescription Drugs Collected During National Take Back Day

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 130 people die from opioid overdoses in the United States every day.

In 1999, there were 3,442 deaths involving prescription opioid overdoses, but that number steadily climbed to more than 17,000 by 2017, where it has remained steady.

The more-widespread legalization of medicinal and adult-use cannabis in recent years has offered a safer alternative for many people, but in 2019, prescription opioid misuse saddles the country with an estimated $78.5 billion in annual healthcare, addiction treatment, productivity loss, and criminal justice costs.

For over a decade-and-a-half, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has attempted to combat the opioid crisis with National Prescription Drug Take Back events which have helped dispose of nearly 12 million pounds of unused or expired medications from thousands of collection locations across the United States.

“Just as DEA and our law enforcement partners are committed to ending the opioid epidemic, our communities recognize that this is a pervasive and heartbreaking crisis,” said DEA Acting Administrator, Uttam Dhillon. “DEA Take Back Day gives every American a way to help by simply cleaning out their medicine cabinets.”

During the 17th semiannual Take Back event on April 27, more than 5,000 federal, state, tribal, and local partners at around 6,400 collection sites received and destroyed nearly 469 tons (938,000 lbs) of unwanted prescription drugs, containers, and packaging.

The event had the highest participation of any Take Back day yet.

The next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is scheduled for October 26.