This weekend, the Seattle Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are hosting the 13th semi-annual event to prevent prescription drug abuse and theft by disposing of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted drugs.
This Saturday, April 29th, 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 October, Americans turned in 366 tons (over 730,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,200 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,800 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 12 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 7.1 million pounds—more than 3,500 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.