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Americans nationwide dropped off nearly 442 tons of medications during the 18th annual October 26, 2019 Drug Take Back event. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its helpers at medical facilities and law enforcement departments have collected about 12.7 million pounds of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription medications since the Drug Take Back Initiative started in 2010.

Beginning with October’s campaign, DEA accepted vaping devices and cartridges in addition to medications at all of its drop-off locations. With hundreds of confirmed lung injuries and dozens of deaths attributed to vape use, DEA is working diligently through outreach efforts to spread the word about the potential dangers of vaping.

“DEA’s Take Back Day events have been extremely successful in not only removing potentially dangerous unused drugs from our nation’s medicine cabinets, but also in raising awareness of their link to addiction and overdose deaths,” said DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon. “In an effort to combat another emerging public health threat – particularly to our nation’s youth – we’re proud to have extended the same opportunity to those looking to dispose of harmful vaping products.”

The public has embraced Take Back Day events because they provide easy, no-cost opportunities to remove medicines from the home that are highly susceptible to misuse, abuse, and theft. Public demand for safe and secure drug disposal has also resulted in a significant increase in year-round drug drop boxes at law enforcement facilities, pharmacies, and elsewhere, making drug disposal even more convenient.

The DEA’s next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is scheduled for April 25, 2020.

Not sure where to drop off unwanted medications? The DEA has an online tool for easily finding the locations of the nearest permanent take back boxes.

This story was compiled by an NCPA staff reporter from submitted news. To see a list of our editorial staff please visit our staff directory.