by Tyronda James
It’s time to clean out and secure your home medicine cabinets. The Drug Enforcement Administration is holding its 20th (drug) Take Back Day on Saturday, April 24.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan said programs like Take Back Day makes it easy for families to remove unused threats of abuse in their homes and minimize tragic dangers related to the use and misuse of opioids.
Take Back Day provides an opportunity for Americans to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths. During the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there was an increase in overdose deaths with 87,200 Americans dying as a result of a drug overdose. Drug overdose deaths increased prior to the COVID-19 and then significantly increased during the first months.
“This past year was a stark reminder that public health is a priority,” Donovan said. “DEA is focused on enforcement, we also provide important tools to stop drug abuse before it starts.”
The public can drop off potentially dangerous prescription medications at collection sites which will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations in order to maintain the safety of all participants and local law enforcement.
DEA and partners will collect tablets, capsules, patches and other solid forms of prescription drugs. They will continue to accept vaping devices and cartridges at its drop off locations, though lithium batteries must be removed. They will not accept liquids (including intravenous solutions), syringes and other sharps, and illegal drugs.
“Just as we were beginning to make great strides, we have seen a tragic increase in the number of, not only opioid overdoses, but also deaths during this global pandemic,” said U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr., of the Western District of New York.
“The pandemic has resulted in many people spending more time alone, distanced from loved ones and friends making this year’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day that much more important. Removing old or unused prescription medications from our medicine cabinets just might help to prevent an overdose or to reduce the chances of creating a future opioid user.”
Acting United States Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon said DEA is making communities safer by collecting the unneeded prescription drugs. “I urge every adult to take advantage of this safe, convenient and anonymous way to empty their medicine cabinets of unused medication that could be misused by a loved one,” Bacon said.
Helping people dispose of potentially harmful prescription drugs is just one way the DEA is working to reduce addiction and stem overdose deaths. Visit www.deatakeback.com or call 800-882-9539 for more information.