DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day set for October 23, 2021

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Close up photo of prescription pills with prescription paper

BILLINGS – Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson will join the Drug Enforcement Administration in support of the 21st National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 23. The biannual event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at sites across Montana. The event is an effort to rid homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in homes are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses from these drugs.

According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.7 million people misused prescription pain relievers, 4.9 million people misused prescription stimulants, and 5.9 million people misused prescription tranquilizers or sedatives in 2019. The survey also showed that a majority of misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.

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“The DEA’s Take Back Day is a great opportunity to clear out unneeded and expired prescriptions. Prescription drugs can end up in the wrong hands, fueling an epidemic of opioid deaths and overdoses. I encourage Montanans to help protect their families, friends and community by participating in the DEA Take Back event to safely dispose of unused prescription medications,” Acting U.S. Attorney Johnson said.

“We now face a national epidemic reaching every corner of America.  Prescription medications often end up in the wrong hands, fueling an epidemic that kills more Americans than car accidents,” said DEA Montana Resident Agent in Charge Stacy Zinn-Brittain. “The power to make a difference starts at home, beginning with returning the unused, unwanted or expired medications that each American keeps in their homes.”

More than 40 sheriff’s offices, police departments and federal agencies across Montana are participating in Take Back Day. Information about collection sites and more information about event is available here: https://takebackday.dea.gov/

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During the last Take Back Day held on April 24, 2021, 4,425 law enforcement participants at 5,060 collection sites brought in a total weight of 839,543 pounds, or 420 tons, of drugs. This brings the total weight collected to 14.52 million pounds, or more than 7,262 tons, of prescription drugs collected in the history of the program. Collection results may include materials other than prescription drugs.


During the April 24, 2021 event, Montanans turned in 1,380 pounds of prescription drugs at 20 collection sites.

In addition to DEA’s National Drug Take Back Day on Oct. 23, prescription drugs can be disposed of any day throughout the year at any of the 11,000 authorized collectors. For more information on collection sites, visit: https://apps2.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubdispsearch/spring/main?execution=e1s1

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the Oct. 23 Take Back Day event, go to www.DEATakeBack.com.

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