Drug “Take Back Day” to Take Place Saturday, April 30th in the Eastern District of Washington

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Spokane – United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington Vanessa Waldref and DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank A. Tarentino announced that Saturday, April 30, 2022, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. is DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. This year marks the 22nd bi-annual event in the eleven-year history of the Drug Take Back initiative. Drug Take Back Day gives the public the opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington will be partnering on Saturday, April 30, with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Spokane Police Department, and other community partners at Northtown Mall, 4750 North Division, located in the northwest corner of Division Street and Queen Avenue in Spokane.

At its last Take Back Day in October 2021, the DEA collected nationally a record-high amount of expired, unwanted, and unused prescription medications, with the public turning in close to 745,000 pounds of unused drugs. Over the 11-year span, DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day has brought in more than 15.2 million pounds of prescription drugs. With studies indicating a majority of abused prescription drugs come from family and friends, including from home medicine cabinets, clearing out unused medicine is essential. Of those numbers, Washington State collected 9,380 pounds of prescription drugs at approximately 72 collections sites operated by the DEA and its state and local law enforcement partners.

“My office is committed to reducing tragic drug overdose deaths. By participating in events like Prescription Drug Take Back Day, we can remove expired narcotics from our communities, prevent medication misuse, and make Eastern Washington safer and stronger,” U.S. Attorney Waldref stated. “Consistent with Operation Engage Spokane – which is a comprehensive community-level approach for addressing the drug epidemic, through proactive prevention strategies, conversations, and collaboration with local partners – drug take back events are one way members of our community can positively impact the opioid crisis and protect their loved ones. Prescription drug misuse and overdose deaths do not discriminate – they can impact individuals of any age, race, gender or demographic.”

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“The DEA Seattle Field Division is committed to making our communities safer and healthier by driving down overdoses and overdose deaths through targeted enforcement and community- based initiatives like our 22nd National Prescription Drug Take Back Day,” said Frank A. Tarentino III, Special Agent in Charge, DEA Seattle Field Division. “Opioid misuse and abuse, which are fueling the drug overdose epidemic, are a clear and present public health, public safety, and national security threat in the United States. With the help from the community, we can remove the unwanted prescription pills found in homes throughout Spokane from causing potential harm. This collaborative effort is an example of the DEA’s commitment and resolve in the fight to decrease the significant surge in overdoses afflicting Eastern Washington.”

“Our officers see the painful and costly effects of drug related crimes every day. Last year almost 300 Americans died each day due to drug overdoses,” Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl stated. “Everything we can do to stop these deaths is a life saved, and a family not ruined by the scourge of overdose deaths. Drug Take Back Day is a great step community members can take to make a difference.”

In addition to DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, there are many other ways to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs every day. The FDA provides information on how to properly dispose of prescription drugs. To find out where year-round disposal sites are located, go to https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/where-and-how-dispose-unused-medicines.

For more information about Annual Prescription Drug Take Back Day, go to www.DEATakeBack.com

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