LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Southland residents who want to get rid of expired, unused and unwanted drugs will have an opportunity to safely discard them at multiple locations Saturday during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
The effort, organized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in partnership with local law enforcement agencies, is intended to underscore the importance of taking commonly abused drugs out of circulation.
The first Take Back Day of 2023 is scheduled for Saturday. Another will likely be held in October.
"The drug overdose epidemic in the United States is a clear and present public health, public safety and national security threat," a DEA statement said. "National Prescription Drug Take Back Day reflects DEA's commitment to Americans' safety and health, encouraging the public to remove unneeded medications from their homes as a measure of preventing medication misuse and opioid addiction from starting."
The agency began holding take-backs 13 years ago. Since its inaugural drug take-back event, more than 8,300 tons of prescription and non-prescription drugs have been collected at thousands of disposal sites throughout the country, according to officials.
In 2021, an estimated 107,000 people died from drug overdoses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Roughly three- quarters of those deaths were from opioid use, principally the synthetic drug fentanyl, officials said.
"What better way to commemorate Earth Day than to rid your household of unwanted and expired medications in an environmentally safe manner instead of disposing of them in the trash," DEA Los Angeles Field Division Special Agent in Charge Bill Bodner said in a statement. "We will have approximately 67 collection sites throughout Southern California where the public can conveniently drop off their medications. This free, anonymous event allows the community to safeguard their homes from the potential misuse or diversion of prescription medications."
The DEA noted that provisions in the federal Secure & Responsible Drug Disposal Act authorize pharmacies, hospitals and other facilities to serve as collection sites year-round.
On Saturday, residents will be able to drop off prescription medications at most police stations.
In addition to drugs, vaping pens and cartridges will also be accepted at drop-off locations. Syringes, sharps and illicit drugs will not be accepted.
No questions will be asked of people disposing of medications or other ingestible products. More information, including a list of drop-off locations, is available at www.dea.gov/takebackday.