As drug overdoses soar in the United States, particularly from opioid misuse, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration Saturday will hold its 22nd National Prescription Drug Take Back Day — enabling people to anonymously dispose of unneeded medications at drop-off spots in the Los Angeles area.
Pasadenans can make the short trek up the hill to the Altadena Sheriff’s Station at 780 E. Altadena, where collections will occur on Fontanet Way, which branches off of Altadena Drive in front of the station when approaching from the west.
The program will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
“Disposing of unneeded medications can help prevent drugs from being misused,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “Overdose deaths continue to hit tragic record highs. I encourage everyone to dispose of unneeded prescription medications now.”
On Saturday, the DEA and its law enforcement partners will collect tablets, capsules, patches and other solid forms of prescription drugs — but liquids, syringes and other sharps, as well as illicit drugs, will not be accepted. The DEA said vaping devices and cartridges will also be accepted, but lithium batteries must be removed.
“This free, semi-annual event helps the community dispose of prescription drugs from their homes while preventing the possible diversion and misuse of these medications,” said Bill Bodner, the DEA’s Los Angeles field division special agent in charge.
“Often times opioid addiction starts with prescription pills found in the medicine cabinet. With the devastating number of drug-caused deaths rising across communities, mainly driven by fake prescription pills, this is proactive way to reduce the risk and keep the public safe.”
According to the DEA, drug overdose deaths are up 16% in the past year, claiming more than 290 lives every day.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 106,000 people in the United States died from a drug overdose in the 12- month period ending November 2021 — the most drug-related deaths ever recorded. Opioid-related deaths accounted for 75 percent of all overdose fatalities, according to the CDC.
The DEA also cited a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration saying that a majority of people who misused a prescription medication obtained the medicine from a family member or friend.
Since the inception of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, the DEA estimates it has collected more than 15 million pounds of medications.
For people who cannot drop off their unneeded medications on Saturday, the DEA also pointed out that year-round receptacles are available at more than 13,000 pharmacies, hospitals, police departments and businesses nationwide.
With the passage of the DUMP Opioids Act in 2021, the public may now use drop boxes at Veterans Administration medical centers. The DEA urges people to check with their local VA facility for more information.