Acting United States Attorney Sean R. Berry wants to encourage the public to participate in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Takeback Day on Saturday, April 29, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

          Acting United States Attorney Berry stated, “The DEA’s National Takeback Initiative has been very successful and offers an anonymous and free opportunity to get rid of unwanted pills.”  Berry went on to add, “The threat of prescription drug abuse leading to more serious drug addictions is real.  The Takeback Day is a day our community should come together to fight the opioid and heroin epidemic crossing our nation and impacting our citizens.”

          On October 22, 2016, the public turned in 731,269 pounds, almost 366 tons, of medication to DEA and more than 4,000 of its community partners at almost 5,200 collection sites nationwide.  Over the life of the program, 7.1 million pounds, more than 3,500 tons, of prescription drugs have been removed from medicine cabinets, kitchen drawers, and nightstands by citizens around the country.

          Unused medicines in the home are a problem because the majority of the 6.4 million Americans who abused CPDs in 2015, including the almost 4 million who abused prescription painkillers, say they obtained those drugs from friends and family, including from a home medicine cabinet, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health release last month.  Some painkiller abusers move on to heroin: four out of five new heroin users started with painkillers.  Almost 30,000 people, 78 a day, died from overdosing on these painkillers or heroin in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

          This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.  Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.  Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.  Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.  In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines, such as flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash, post potential safety and health hazards.

          Collection sites will be set up throughout communities nationwide.  Through the cooperative efforts of federal, state, and local authorities, there is a takeback collection site located in 50 of the 52 counties comprising the Northern District of Iowa.

In Benton County, Take Back Day will be on Saturday, April 29, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Benton County Sheriff’s Office at 113 E. 3rd St. in Vinton.

The service is free and anonymous.