DEA to hold ‘Take Back Day’ for prescription drugs Saturday

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This Saturday (April 24th), the Drug Enforcement Administration will hold its 20th ‘Take Back Day.’ 

With opioid overdose deaths increasing during the pandemic, the event is an opportunity to safely discard your expired and unused prescription medications. During the previous event, held in October 2020, a record 500 tons of unwanted drugs were turned in across the country.  Over the 10-year span of ‘Take Back Day,’ the DEA has brought in more than 6,800 tons of prescription drugs. 

“The rate of prescription drug abuse in the United States is alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs, DEA Special Agent in Charge Brad Byerley said. “Unfortunately, these prescription drugs are most often obtained from friends and family, who leave them in home medicine cabinets. Helping people dispose of potentially harmful prescription drugs is just one way DEA is working to reduce the addiction rates and overdose deaths plaguing this country. Please do your part to keep these drugs off the streets and help spread awareness in your community.” 

The DEA cited stats from the CDC showing that the U.S. has seen an increase in overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 87,200 Americans dying as a result of a drug overdose in a one-year period (Sept. 1, 2019 to Sept. 1, 2020), the most ever recorded in a 12-month period. The increase in drug overdose deaths appeared to begin prior to the COVID-19 health emergency, accelerating significantly during the first months of the pandemic. 

“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 Administrator D. Christopher Evans said. “Bringing unused or expired medications to a local collection site for safe disposal helps protect your loved ones and the environment.” 

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 its partners will collect tablets, capsules, patches, and other solid forms of prescription drugs. Liquids (including intravenous solutions), syringes and other sharps, and illegal drugs will not be accepted. DEA will continue to accept vaping devices and cartridges at its drop-off locations provided lithium batteries are removed. 

Learn more about the event and find a drop-off location at, or by calling 800-882-9539. 

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