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National Drug Take Back Day safe way to dispose of unused medications

Consumers who have prescription drugs that are no longer needed or are expired can safely dispose of them on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

This is the 17th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day across the country. With exceptional public participation during 16 prior events, the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Initiative continues to collect increasing amounts of opioids and other medicines from the nation’s homes. The service is free and anonymous.

Unused medications in homes create a public health and safety concern because they are highly susceptible to accidental ingestion, theft or misuse. The proper disposal of unused drugs protects the environment and helps save lives.

“We know that the majority of abused prescription drugs are from the home medicine cabinets of family and friends,” said State Public Health Officer and CDPH Director Dr. Karen Smith. “The Take-Back event is a valuable opportunity for everyone to help keep their loved ones safe.”

According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.4 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.

“The abuse of prescription drugs is America’s fastest-growing drug problem, and too many people are dying or being seriously injured by the misuse of such drugs,” U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott stated. “Young people are particularly at risk. Since people who abuse prescription drugs may get them from family members or friends, it is imperative that we all take steps to dispose of drugs that are no longer needed.”

During the National Prescription Drug Take-Back event in October 2018, federal, state and local law enforcement partners across the country collected 457 tons of unwanted prescription drugs: Californians disposed of more than 34.5 tons of unwanted drugs, more than any other state.

“Prescription drugs in the home are susceptible to diversion and misuse. Take Back Day provides a free and anonymous opportunity to dispose of unwanted medication in an environmentally safe manner,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Chris Nielsen. “By participating in this event you are making your home and our community safer.”

Now in its ninth year, DEA San Francisco Division has collected a total of nearly 233 tons of expired, unused and unwanted prescription medications from Northern California and Central Valley residents through its Take Back Day events. Nearly 140 collection sites manned by nearly 90 partner law enforcement agencies will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Bakersfield to the Northern California border.

The event can not take liquids or needles.

Locally, there will be drop off sites at the Stanislaus County Traffic Court at 2260 Floyd Avenue in Modesto. The Turlock Police Department has a drug take back collection box that is available to the public during regular business hours Monday through Friday.