The DEA wants your unused prescription drugs

If you have unwanted prescription drugs sitting in your medicine cabinet, the Drug Enforcement Administration will be happy to help out.The federal dr...

Posted: Apr 24, 2021 11:15 AM

If you have unwanted prescription drugs sitting in your medicine cabinet, the Drug Enforcement Administration will be happy to help out.

The federal drug agency wants your unused or expired prescriptions for its 20th National Prescription Take Back Day on Saturday -- to help ensure homes are safe from drug abuse.

When walk-in clinics and syringe exchange programs closed at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, experts expressed concern that the virus would exacerbate America's opioid epidemic.

Those fears have largely played out.

More than 87,000 people in the United States died from drug overdoses over the 12-month period that ended in September 2020, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those drug overdose deaths were the most ever recorded in a one-year period.

Prescription opioids accounted for 3,442 overdose deaths in 1999, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. By 2017, that toll reached 17,029 deaths before dropping to 14,139 deaths in 2019.

For Take Back Day, the DEA is encouraging people to drop off potentially dangerous prescription medications at collection sites to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths. Tablets, capsules, patches and other solid forms of prescription drugs are acceptable. The agency said it will not accept liquids, syringes and other illegal drugs.

"It's important to keep our own homes safe by regularly cleaning out medicine cabinets and any other areas where we store our pharmaceuticals," Acting DEA Administrator D. Christopher Evans said in statement. "Bringing unused or expired medications to a local collection site for safe disposal helps protect your loved ones and the environment."

Last October, Americans turned over nearly 500 tons of unwanted drugs for Take Back Day, the DEA said in a statement.

Collection sites follow local coronavirus guidelines to ensure people's safety. To find a site near you, click here.

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