- The Washington Times
Monday, May 7, 2018

A record 1 million pounds of unwanted and unused prescription drugs were dropped off during the Drug Enforcement Administration’s 15th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 28, the Department of Justice announced Monday.

Established in 2010, National Prescription Drug Take Back Day enables Americans to give the DEA any expired, unused, unwanted and potentially dangerous drugs to be destroyed. The event’s importance has increased in the last few years as the opioid crisis continues its stranglehold on the country. Last year, more than 64,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, 42,000 of which were linked to opioids, according to Justice Department statistics.

“Today we are facing the worst drug crisis in American history, with one American dying of a drug overdose every nine minutes,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement announcing the record haul. “An unprecedented crisis like this one demands an unprecedented response — and that’s why President Trump has made this issue a priority for this administration. DEA’s National Drug Take Back Days are important opportunities for people to turn in unwanted and potentially addictive drugs with no questions asked. These Take Back Days continue to break records, with the latest taking nearly 1 million pounds of prescription drugs off of our streets.”

Since its formation, National Prescription Take Back Day has collected nearly 9 million pounds of prescription drugs.

The event has proved so popular, individual states also reported record prescription drug collections this year. Residents of Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska, for example, turned in nearly 40,100 pounds of medication.

Texas and California ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the country with the largest collections. Nearly 83,000 pounds of medication was taken out of circulation in Texas, while roughly 70,000 pounds were returned in California.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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