Washington, DC – Thousands of Americans in communities across the country discarded more than 350 tons of unused, expired, or unwanted drugs as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Initiative (NTBI) on Saturday, September 26.
More than 3,800 federal, state and local counterparts took in more than 702,365 pounds of unused, expired or unwanted drugs at more than 5,000 collection sites across the United States. This was the tenth NTBI event since September 2010; cumulatively, these events have collected 5,525,021 pounds of drugs.
“The numbers are shocking—approximately 46,000 Americans die each year from drug-related deaths. More than half of those are from heroin and prescription opioids,” said Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. “With four out of five new heroin users starting with prescription medications, I know our take-back program makes a real difference.”
The NTBI addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.5 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs. That same study showed that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. The DEA’s NTBI events are also a significant piece of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s prescription drug abuse prevention strategy.
In his Weekly Address, President Obama spoke about the importance of preventing and treating substance use disorders and called on Americans to participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.