This weekend, the Seattle Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are hosting the 12th semi-annual event to prevent prescription drug abuse and theft by disposing of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted drugs.
This Saturday, October 22nd, the city’s five precincts will serve as drop-off locations between 10 AM and 2 PM for any unwanted prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Last April, Americans turned in 447 tons (over 893,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,400 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,800 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 11 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 6.4 million pounds—more than 3,200 tons—of pills.
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—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.