Drug Take Back Day Collects Nearly 420 Tons


Photo: Getty Images

DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day collected 829,543 pounds (419.7 tons) of unused, expired, and unwanted medications across the country. Americans once again showed their dedication toward helping prevent addiction and potential overdose by removing prescription pills from their homes. Our April event included 4,425 community partners at 5,060 collection sites throughout the country.

“DEA’s biannual Take Back Day events are critical to helping reduce overdose deaths and alleviate addiction by safely disposing of prescription medications that sit idle in the home,” said DEA Acting Administrator D. Christopher Evans. “DEA is committed to providing a safe and secure method for the public to rid their homes of potentially dangerous drugs.”

“The success of this year’s initiative is due in large part to the citizens in the community who joined us in responsibly disposing of unused and unwanted prescription medications,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino. “With the current opioid epidemic and significant increase in overdoses, fatal and non-fatal, the DEA has doubled down on our commitment and efforts to stop the abuse of this narcotic.”

The Pacific Northwest consisting of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska collected 36,259 pounds at 182 collection sites, broken down as follows: Washington; 15,558 pounds, Oregon; 11,257 pounds, Idaho; 5,829 pounds, and Alaska 3,615 pounds.

DEA, along with its law enforcement partners, has now collected 14,670,240 million pounds of medications since the inception of the National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative in 2010. On Oct. 24, 2020, the public turned in a record 985,392 pounds – almost 493 tons – of medication to DEA and 4,153 of its community partners at 4,587 collection sites nationwide, including 33 Bureau of Indian Affairs sites.