National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Yields Record Results

May 17, 2018

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — A record haul of nearly one 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 Saturday, April 28, according to the Department of Justice.

That trend was mirrored at CHI Health St. Francis as volunteers collected 421 pounds of unused prescription drugs — 138 pounds more than the 283 pounds collected at the May 2017 Take Back event. St. Francis partnered with the Nebraska State Patrol, the Central Nebraska Council on Alcoholism and Addictions and the Grand Island Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition to serve as a collection site for the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

At CHI Health Good Samaritan in Kearney, a group that included Good Samaritan, Positive Pressure, Two Rivers Public Health Department, Buffalo County Sheriff's Office and Elks USA collected 392.5 pounds of unused prescription drugs from 164 people.

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to a recent national survey, 6.4 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs. The study showed that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.

The DEA’s Take Back Day events provide an opportunity for Americans to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths as, too often, unused prescription drugs find their way into the wrong hands. That’s dangerous and often tragic. That’s why it was great to see thousands of folks from across the country clean out their medicine cabinets and turn in — safely and anonymously — a record amount of prescription drugs at last October’s event.

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 collection amount. “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 one million pounds of prescription drugs off of our streets.”

Since its formation, National Prescription Take Back Day has collected nearly nine million pounds of prescription drugs. The next Take Back Day will take place in October.